Alfonso Ballestero, Nemesio Fernández Cuesta, Carlos Bustelo
On 21 June 2017, the Rafael del Pino Foundation and Lid Editorial organised the presentation of the book entitled "El gas natural en España".
The event was attended by: Alfonso Ballesteroauthor of the book Nemesio Fernández Cuestaformer Secretary of State for Energy and Mineral Resources Carlos Busteloformer Minister of Industry and Energy
Natural gas in Spain takes a look at the fifty-year history of the gas industry in our country; from its beginnings in 1965, when the first project to use natural gas as an energy source was presented, to the present day, when the gasification of the country has materialised and numerous companies - all of them private - operate in the national arena on a competitive basis.
The book develops in detail the main milestones experienced throughout the period, such as the Catalana de Gas initiative in 1965, the attempts to nationalise the industry between 1971 and 1976, the birth of the National Hydrocarbons Institute in 1981, the decisive 1985 protocol, the creation of Gas Natural SDG in 1991 and the liberalisation of the industry in 1998.
The book, which has won the 17th LID Business History Prize, is the result of almost three years of research during which the author has been able to access public and private archives, as well as gather the opinions of leading figures in the industry.
On 21 June 2017, the presentation of the book "Natural gas in Spain" took place at the Rafael del Pino Foundation, with the participation of Alfonso Ballestero, author of the book, Nemesio Fernández Cuesta, former Secretary of State for Energy and Mineral Resources, and Carlos Bustelo, former Minister of Industry and Energy. The first to speak was Alfonso Ballestero, who pointed out that when it was proposed in 1972 to gasify the country, it was starting from scratch, there was no organisation and there were no resources. It was then that Enagás was created, with Rafael del Pino as chairman, who held the post without receiving any remuneration. Ballesteros pointed out that the industrial sector has been conditioned at many times by political decisions. And so has the gas industry. This was evident in the early days of the sector in Spain, when there was a great debate as to whether it should be developed by public or private initiative. Proponents of public initiative argued that natural gas was a hydrocarbon and should therefore be included in the oil monopoly. The gas industry started in Catalonia, which meant that for a long time there was a desire among Catalan businessmen to have a Catalan cartel in a gas company. Foreign capital had a small presence in the development of the sector at the beginning, due to the fact that it was a public initiative. Now, on the other hand, its presence is large, through investment funds. In the past, there was a certain weight of national production that lasted for ten years, until the mid-1990s. Today, however, it is almost non-existent due to the depletion of reserves and the significant inflow of gas from abroad, especially from Algeria after the signing of the supply contract with Sonatrac. The sector was able to develop in a very short period of time a colossal infrastructure, capable of handling a much higher demand than today. Finally, the liberalisation process was carried out in an exemplary manner, and much more quickly than in neighbouring countries. Nemesio Fernández Cuesta emphasised that the history of gas in Spain is a success story because our country had no natural gas. We did it based on imports, as well as on the contributions of many professionals from the administration and companies. For the pipes to be profitable, the demand for natural gas had to be developed. This was done through liberalisation. Carlos Bustelo agreed that gas was a success story, when the sector had everything going against it. In the nuclear energy sector we had everything going for us: we had uranium, know-how, magnificent engineers and a territory. And yet we were able to set such an ambitious process in motion while trying not to let the politicians get in the way.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.