MEDGAZ (Socidad para el Estudio y la Promocion del Gasoducto Argelia Europa, via Esparna, S.A.) is a company formed by CEPSA, Sonatrach, BP, Endesa, ENI/Snam, Gaz de France and Totalfinaelf, to study the transport of gas from Algeria to Europe. The pipeline system being studied will be able to transport natural gas, of prescribed specifications, at the rates of 8 to 16 BCM/year (BCM – Billion Cubic Meter). The pipeline on the Algerian side will have a landfall at Beni Saf and on the Spanish side landfall will be in the province of Almeria.
The survey used the most current seabed mapping technologies including the most modern multi-beam equipment mounted on an unmanned submarine named HUGIN 3000. This submarine, also called AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle), operates totally autonomously, without any physical connection to the parent ship, carrying out its 50-hour missions 40 meters above the seabed. It can, however, be instructed to revise its mission in real time by using acoustic communications from the mother ship when it is necessary. She is the only commercial survey AUV in the World capable of working in water depth to 3000 meters. HUGIN 3000 is owned by C & C Technologies of Lafayette, LA, USA and was used for the first time in Europe on the MEDGAZ survey. The survey was supervised by MEDGAZ engineers and accomplished all of their objectives. Information supplied by C & C’s AUV provided ample information to determine a suitable pipeline corridor crossing the Alboran Sea area on the Western Mediterranean in record-breaking water depths exceeding 2100 meters.