The European Union has included the proposed gas pipeline between Malta and Sicily in a list of 250 energy projects which may qualify from a total of €5.85 billion in funding.

The project description says that this would be a 150 km pipeline from Gela in Sicily to an offshore Floating Storage and Regasification Unit unit some 12 miles off Malta, and the Delimara power station.

The European Commission said a modern infrastructure with adequate interconnectors and reliable networks is crucial for an integrated energy market where consumers get the best value for their money.

These "projects of common interest" (PCI) will benefit from accelerated licensing procedures and improved regulatory conditions and may have access to financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility, under which a €5.85 billion budget has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-20.

This will help them get implemented faster and make them more attractive to investors. Once completed, the projects will help Member States to integrate their energy markets, enable them to diversify their energy sources and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also enable the grid to uptake increasing amounts of renewables, and consequently help reduce CO2 emissions.

Just this morning, it was reported that the company which is to build the new gas-fired power station will store liquefied gas  on a ship permanently berthed at Delimara.

Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi remarked that such an option provided flexibility and should new facilities be available, the ship would simply sail away.

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