Despite efforts to reduce fuel consumption and the expansion of drilling activity, Euskadi has been a net importer of oil and natural gas in 2010. However, the dependence on oil and gas has declined severely over the last 10 years due mainly to the introduction of the hydrogen economy and the implementation of IGCC plants.

In recent years large reserves of oil and gas have been discovered in waters of the African territory of Nyanga. Two platforms are extracting oil from 2009, 3 more are under construction and Energiaren Euskal Erakundea (Basque Energy Agency) has opened a procedure for granting new licenses for exploration and exploitation. With currently low levels of use of petroleum and derivatives due to the implementation of the "Hydrogen Economy", it is predicted that by the end of 2012 Euskadi will becoming an oil and gas exporter and the production could reach more than 1 million bbl/day of oil and 200 billion cu m of gas in 2015.


Oil & gas in Euskadi
Import / export (1) Natural gas
Natural gas
Import / export (1)
Millions bbl/day Millions bbl/day Millions bbl/day Billions cu m Billions cu m Billions cu m
1995 0.069 1.543 -1.485 19.50 42.18 -22.68
2000 0.035 1.317 -1.297 14.32 48.30 -33.98
2005 0.009 0.794 -0.845 9.80 37.21 -27.41
2010 0.197 0.249 -0.103 15.44 29.72 -14.28
Change 1995-2010 185.2 % -84.3 % -93.06 % -20.82 % -29.54 % -32.16 %
*(1) Import and export of oil includes both the oil imported for domestic use and the oil imported to be refined and sold abroad as oil derivative products. Import data are considered negative values and export data are considered positive values.



Oil is used today as a product in industrial processes and to be refined as fuel (GLPs, Gas-oil, Fuel-oil, etc.) for military vehicles, trains, ships and planes but the use of oil derivative fuels are going to be banned in the next years. Currently all combustion motors are banned for road transport.

Natural gas

Natural gas is mainly used for domestic heating and as fuel for furnaces in some industrial processes although most large industries are using electric furnaces as far as possible. As the generation capacity in power plants increases, (there ar planned several new IGCC) the tendency will be to a decrease in domestic use of natural gas and its gradual replacement by electricity. Nevertheless, as far as coal can't be let to be the only fuel in the new IGCC plants strategy, and natural gas can be used in IGCCs it is expected that gas consumption will remain stable or even will experience some growth in the medium term.



Albatros 1 offshore platform


Oil production in Euskadi has been merely testimonial in recent years. Although there was initial optimism with the launch of the Basque-Cantabrian Basin deposits, natural gas is the only product extracted intensively due to the characteristics of the deposits.

In recent years large oil and natural gas reserves have been found and evaluated off the coast of the african region of Nyanga. There are two offshore platforms extracting primarily oil and one extracting primarily gas. Three more platforms are under construction for the extraction of oil and gas with the first of them expected to enter service in summer 2012. Given the results of new exploration campaigns in the Nyanga Basin, the Energiaren Euskal Erakundea (Basque Energy Agency) has decided to grant new licenses for exploration and exploitation of oil and natural gas in the region.

Natural gas

Although fluctuating the gas production in the Basque-Cantabrian Basin has been until recently the only source of hydrocarbons in Euskadi. It is currently extracted about one third of the gas consumed in Euskadi from the Basque-Cantabrian Basin. In recent years Petronor has made and intensive drilling campaign in deeper waters of the Gulf of Biscay and the results suggest that the production of the Cantabrian Basin could be maintained and even increased with new investments.

In Nyanga Basin there are significant gas reserves that are beginning to be exploited at present. In the comming years this reserves will ensure the national provision and will allow Euskadi to become an exporter of natural gas.

Unconventional oil & gas

Oil shale

Oil shale is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing significant amounts of kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which technology can extract liquid hydrocarbons (shale oil) and combustible oil shale gas. Shale oil extraction is an industrial process for unconventional oil & gas production. This process converts kerogen in oil shale into shale oil by pyrolysis, hydrogenation or thermal dissolution. The resultant shale oil is used as fuel oil or upgraded to meet refinery feedstock specifications by adding hydrogen and removing sulfur and nitrogen impurities.

In Euskadi there are important oil shale operations in Araba (Enara Camp) and Bizkaia (Balmaseda Camp). Due to enviromental concerns Euskadi industry uses in-situ technologies that perform the processing underground (on-site or in situ processing) by applying heat and extracting the gas via gas wells. Once the gas is extracted is utilized in an IGCC plant located in the shale gas camp. The CO2 and other contaminant gases are injected again to the underground in a virtual Zero-emissions process. The equivalent of 2.14 billions of cu m of gas were extracted in Euskadi in 2010 and new production site are under development.

The companies Fenix Resources and Euskadi Energia owns and operates the most important shale gas operations in Euskadi and have become in a world leaders in shale gas extraction.

Coalbed methane

See: Coal in Euskadi

See also

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