(Bloomberg) -- Spain’s gas transportation operator wants to build a new pipeline with France as a way to increase flows of natural gas into Europe and cut reliance on Russian energy supplies.

Spain “must make its excess capacity available to Europe, and that means strengthening” links with other parts of the region, Enagas SA Chief Executive Officer Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri said at an event in Madrid on Monday evening. Focus for this should be on building the first phase of the so-called MidCat pipeline with France as “it would be the bet that could give the fastest result,” he said.

Enagas would also potentially focus on increasing gas compression and transportation capacity on two other existing pipelines with France, Gonzalo Aizpiri said.

Iberia is home to about 30% of Europe’s liquefied national gas processing capacity and has two pipelines linking it to gas fields in northern Africa. But the peninsula has limited links with the rest of Europe, meaning only small amounts of the fossil fuel can be shipped by pipeline to the rest of the continent.

Discussions over plans to build the Midcat pipeline, shelved in 2019, have gained strength in recent weeks as European policy makers seek to cut reliance on Russian gas. Germany’s ambassador to Spain recently said Berlin supports building it and his French counterpart in Madrid said it could be discussed.

Spain’s energy minister, Teresa Ribera, has also said that the pipeline could be considered as long as Spanish taxpayers don’t have to pay for it and as long as it is with a view of transporting other fuels, such as hydrogen, in the future. On Monday, the Enagas CEO also highlighted that any plans should consider using the new pipeline for hydrogen.

Hydrogen is more corrosive than gas and so gas pipelines need retrofitting to transport the greener fuel.

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