The Castor UGS project was officially recognized by the Spanish authorities in the 2002 Spanish infrastructure plan. In the 2006 update to the plan, Castor was granted “A Urgent” status, the highest rating available and signalling that the project is considered essential to maintaining the integrity of the Spanish gas system.
The most important permit, the Development Concession, received official approval from the Council of Ministers of the Spanish government on May 16, 2008 and was published in the official bulletin as Royal Decree 855/2008 on June 5, 2008. The Development Concession is the primary regulatory approval needed to develop the Castor UGS Project. It establishes the Castor UGS Project within the regulatory framework as entitled to receive remuneration.
A number of secondary permit applications were filed on August 4, 2008, including:
All of these secondary permits were subject to a single public review period of 30 working days, which was completed in October 2008. Escal provided a written response to all comments; none was seen as providing additional hurdles or delaying the project. The next regulatory step, to be completed by the Ministry of the Environment, will be the issuance of the Environmental Impact Assessment, expected in summer 2009, which provides environmental approval for the project and is required before the other secondary permits will be finalized.
Escal meets and communicates regularly with all levels of government and other stakeholders, and will continue to engage stakeholders throughout all phases of the Castor project.