Manuel Chinchilla da Silva

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Manuel Chinchilla: 90% of the gas produced in Spain leaves a single field in La Rioja

Manuel Chinchilla: 90% of the gas produced in Spain leaves a single field in La RiojaMANUEL CHINCHILLA: EL



In the Sotés deposit, 1,523 GWh have been produced in the last 12 months

The gas company will invest 20 million euros for the drilling of a new well

The production of natural gas in the Sotés deposit, located in La Rioja, accounts for 90% of the total extracted in Spain, according to an article published on January 14 in the Newspaper of La Rioja. 

La Rioja is the largest producer of gas in Spain, thanks to this natural gas extraction project in Sotés, since the other Spanish deposits that remain operational barely produce, compared to the Rioja field. This was specified by Unión Fenosa Gas, the company that leads the project. 

Another important fact indicates that the production of the last 12 months at the Sotés deposit represents 40% of La Rioja's natural gas consumption, since said autonomous community consumed 3,972 Gigawatt hours (GWh) during that period and at the Sotés deposit there were 1,523 GWh at the same time, taking into account all household consumption, industry and electricity production.

Planned Investment

The gas company plans to invest 20 million euros in Sotés to drill a new well during 2020, which will require the workforce of some 120 people who will work in the area for six months. 

Although this new productive survey planned for the summer of 2019 could not be carried out due to the lack of authorization from the General Directorate of Energy Policy and Mines (DGPEM) on November 12, it is anticipated that this investment and work could end up being carried out during Summer or fall of 2020. 

“Everything will be subject to completing a new work program and the reservation and contracting of the necessary human and material equipment to carry them out, many of which are not available in Spain, for example, the drilling tower. It has to come from outside and they are not always available at all times, ”says DGPEM. 

Compensation of Law

A peculiarity of the production of natural gas in Spain has to do with the compensation that corresponds to the residents of the deposit and the institutions, according to the last Hydrocarbons law approved in 2015 by the Spanish State. 

In this case, about 1,040 hectares of Sotés, Hornos de Moncalvillo, Navarrete and Medrano are paid at a price of about 215 euros per hectare between about 1,200 owners of the land of the reference perimeter. 

According to Unión Fenosa Gas, the total amount paid in 2019 is related to what was produced in 2018 and exceeds 225 thousand euros for the residents of the area and 787 thousand euros for the institutions. 

With the 2018 data, the figure is multiplied by more than 17 times compared to 2017, as a result of a substantial increase in the production of natural gas considered from 60,100 MWh in 2017 to 880,700 MWh in 2018, the year in which the amounts paid the owners were only about 13,200 euros, since in 2017 the project was in production a few days, just about 75 days, and with a low daily extraction flow, so the total annual hydrocarbon production was very modest, just reaching 60,100 MWh of gas and 195.6 tons of condensates. 

As for the 787 thousand euros paid to the institutions, that is, the City Council of Sotés and the Government of La Rioja, they correspond to four percent of the volume of hydrocarbons extracted. According to estimates, in some years, when the field is in full capacity, the gas company may pay the neighbors and institutions a total of three million euros a year. 

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