The European Commission has approved European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) assistance of ECU 99.01 million for the construction of the gas pipeline "Straits of Gibraltar - Cordova" and for the transport networks "Campo de Gibraltar" and "Jerez". The "Straits of Gibraltar - Cordova" gas pipeline link, with a capacity to transport 18,100 million cubic metres of gas a year, is one of the priority energy projects approved at the Essen summit in December 1994 and forms part of the development of trans-European energy networks. The total cost of this project, to be carried out by the company ENAGAS, is ECU 298.47 million. The project will allow the interconnection of the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline with the natural gas grids of Spain and Portugal. The interconnection of the grids of those two countries is also being part-financed by the ERDF under the Community INTERREG II initiative (natural gas). This new project will also contribute to energy diversification and improvement of the environment, as well as to greater competitiveness.