The €322 million Malta-Italy gas pipeline which will replace the permanently-moored gas tanker supplying the Delimara power plant is targeted to be operational by 2024.

Energy Minister Joe Mizzi this morning said a development application has been formally submitted to the Planning Authority in Malta and the Italian Ministry for Economic Development.

Stretching over a span of 159 km, the pipeline will connect Malta to the European gas network grid. The two landing points will be in Delimara, and Gela, Italy.

Mr Mizzi said today was an important milestone for the ambitious project. Since it had been identified as a "project of common interest" by the European Commission it would be eligible for a fast-track planning process. Nonetheless, this is still expected to take three-and-a-half years at most. In the meantime, the government will be commissioning environmental impact studies and a marine survey, costing a total of €8 million, which will be financed by the EU.

Minister Joe Mizzi (second from left) addressing the news conference.Minister Joe Mizzi (second from left) addressing the news conference.

Meanwhile, the government will be commissioning environmental impact studies and a marine survey, costing a total of €8 million, which will be financed by the EU.

Once the permits are in hand in 2020, the tendering process would be rolled out with the objective of completing the project within a timeframe between 24 and 36 months.

In a brief presentation, Energy and Water Agency CEO Daniel Azzopardi said a public company would soon be set up to manage the project, and eventually handle its operations.

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