Experts question the validity of the report that ‘condemned’ the Castor project

All against Juanes. The penultimate session of the Castor case trial at the Castellón Court revolved around the report that served as the basis for the Government of Spain when it came to definitively stopping the activity in the Castor gas warehouse, located off the coast of Vinaròs in the north of the province of Castellón. Experts arriving from Stanford, Florida, San Francisco and Bristol questioned this Wednesday before the judge the scientific validity of the aforementioned report, which he made Ruben Juanes.

The call Juanes report concluded that the earthquakes of September and October 2013 were located in the Amposta fault, and that they could have occurred due to the injection of gas in the Castor warehouse. The Government relied on it to close the activity on the platform due to the alleged risk of new earthquakes of up to 6.8 degrees of magnitude. However, both Mark Zoback as Chales Connor, Gabriel Toro or Mikel Diez, world experts in induced seismicity and seismic risk assessment, agreed that scientifically it has not been verified that the Amposta fault is active or capable of producing earthquakes, that the seismicity was not produced by the Amposta fault -because it was in a way incompatible with it-; and that it is “speculative” to affirm that there was an interaction between faults. His general conclusion is that “to this day” the process that produced the seismicity is still “unknown” by the scientific community.

Diez, for example, stated that the methodology used by Juanes “is not adequate in Earth Sciences.” “It starts with the assumption that the Amposta fault is active and that there is a causal relationship between it and the earthquakes and Based on this, build a model which also indicates a displacement contrary to that of the shape of the fault itself. He stated that the “report is not a true risk assessment” and that “there is nothing to scientifically support” the claim that there could be a 6.8 earthquake.


Other experts like Toro remarked a “internal inconsistency “ of the Juanes report, pointing out that “the inclination of the Amposta fault is not compatible with the seismic movement” that occurred. Zoback noted that there is “confusion from the beginning” and underscored the lack of scientific evidence. “I know Professor Juanes and other members of his team and they are smart people, but I think there are many errorsI don’t think they have read the report in depth or checked the details. If a student gives it to me, as a draft, I return it to correct. That would never have been accepted, “said Zoback, a professor of geophysics at Stanford University.

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He also declared this Wednesday Pablo Palacios, a seismologist from Ecuador, who insisted, once the case was studied, that “the only thing that is clear is that the seismicity was not caused by the Amposta fault.” In addition, Eduardo Salete, Civil Engineer and expert in induced seismicity and risk assessment, defended that the calculations made by the Prosecutor’s Office to defend that Escal did not reduce the gas injection flow distort the official measures and are not valid. In addition, Salete commented that the earthquakes that occurred are “common” and not dangerous, that in Castellón there are more dangerous active faults than the Amposta fault and that the Juanes report led to “alarmist conclusions”.

The last of the eleven scheduled sessions will be held on Monday 18, with the recorded statement of one of the directors of Escal (the company awarded the warehouse), Carlos Barat, now deceased, and the conclusions of the Prosecutor’s Office, the private prosecution and the defenses of the accused: Recaredo del Potro and José Luis Martínez Dalmau, former president of Escal UGS and former CEO of the concession company, respectively, and the own company.

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