German Chancellor Olaf Scholz raised hopes last week when he championed the construction of a gas pipeline connecting the Spanish and French gas grids. Scholz said such a pipeline would help wean Europe away from its reliance on Russian energy.
French President Emmanuel Macron threw cold water on the idea saying such a pipeline was not necessary since capacity on the two existing cross-Pyrennes gas pipelines was underutilized and that gas flows were going mainly in the direction of Spain.
For his part, European Union industry chief Thierry Breton said on Thursday it was uncertain whether a pipeline connecting the Spanish and French gas grids would be profitable.
"It is unclear if such a project would make sense economically," Breton told reporters in Berlin, one day before EU energy ministers were due to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss soaring energy prices.
The EU proposed a price cap on Russian gas on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin threatened to cut off all energy supplies if Europe took such a step, raising the risk of rationing in Europe this winter.
EU member states that import large amounts of gas from Russia, including Hungary, Slovakia and Austria, have spoken out against a cap on Russian gas because they fear the Kremlin would halt all gas flows, plunging their countries into recession. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has already threatened to halt energy exports to Europe if such a plan is agreed.