Malta: LNG tanker completed, will provide ‘temporary supply’ of gas
The tanker which will be providing liquefied natural gas to the new 215MV plant at Delimara, inside
Marsaxlokk harbour, has been completed and will be dispatched in the coming days.
The tanker, which will also provide storage facility, is expected to berth in Malta by September.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and OPM Minister Konrad Mizzi presided over the sail-away ceremony of
Floating Storage Unit (FSU) Armada LNG Mediterrana in Singapore. The conversion of the vessel was
achieved in 17 months through the cooperation of the companies Bumi Armada, Electrogas Malta and
Keppel Shipyards in Singapore.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister, the conversion job has been lauded by experts who
explained that the FSU has the highest levels of security standards and will provide a temporary, yet
reliable, supply of gas.
The new gas-fired power station was originally envisaged to be completed in March 2015, but following
delays, then energy minister Konrad Mizzi had said that the gas plant would be delayed by 15 months and
be completed in June 2016.
However, a delay in the conversion of the LNG tanker meant that the second deadline had to be missed.
During a recorded interview on One Radio prior to his departure to Singapore, Muscat declined to give
any deadline for the completion of the LNG power station. He reiterated that the LNG tanker at
Birzebbugia would be used for a limited time until Malta would have its gas pipeline with Italy in place.
Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the ceremony also represented “a
celebration of freedom of a small country”.
“Freedom from the manacles which have in the last decades, due to lack of political will, shackled our
people’s spirits to surge ahead, to catch up with our European neighbours, and to push boundaries, not
least in the energy sector, for the benefit our people and future generations,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the country had been in a desperate need for a reform in the energy sector
when his government took over in 2013.
“This will be the project which will not only complete the turnaround of Malta’s energy sector, but which
will be also ensuring that our electricity prices remain low and sustainable; that our electricity supply, at
the periphery of the European continent, remains secure, and which meets the ever-growing electricity
demand which reflects an ever-growing and strong Maltese economy,” Muscat said.
He said, that the most critical component of the government’s strategy in meeting the objectives of the
energy roadmap was the successful completion of the new power station by Electrogas, a part of which
was unveiled yesterday.
“Over a span of less than 40 months, we have successfully implemented a number of initiatives that have
turned around the Maltese energy sector,” Muscat said.
“This project will give citizens cleaner air; it will complete our breakaway from the old, inefficient and
heavy fuel oil plants, to a new energy mix, based on gas, which meets today’s environmental standards,
and which meets the needs of our modern economy.”
In Singapore, Muscat and Mizzi are accompanied by the OPM’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, head of
government communications Kurt Farrugia, OPM (energy and projects) permanent secretary Ronald
Mizzi and legal consultant Aron Mifsud Bonnici.
In a reaction, shadow energy minister Marthese Portelli reiterated the Nationalist Party’s opposition to
the LNG tanker, arguing that it carried with it high risks.
“It is clear that Muscat does not care about the health and safety of Maltese families, especially those in
the south of Malta. He is only interested in his person interest and that of Keith Schembri and Konrad
Mizzi,” Portelli said.
She added that the new-gas fired power station was not required and the government should have used