Three new studies on the development of a gas pipe-line between Malta and Gela in Sicily are expected to start soon as the project enters a new phase.
Energy Minister Joe Mizzi addressed a news conference in Delimara yesterday, on the site where the gas pipeline is expected to emerge. He said the project was in the detailed study phase and the technical design that will eventually lead to the project’s implementation.
He said that the project was expected to be completed by 2024 with the gas pipeline replacing the temporary gas tanker in Marsaxlokk.
The studies, half the cost of which is being funded by the European Union, will be commencing in the coming weeks.
The studies will be presented for the issuing of permits by the authorities in both Gela and Malta.
Ready by end next summer
To this end, the government has set up a company which it called Melita TransGas Pipeline. The studies being undertaken are looking into the route, the seabed, the effects on the environment as well as the design of the infrastructure needed for the project.
The studies are expected to be ready and submitted to the Maltese and Italian authorities by the end of next summer. The plan is that after the permits are in hand, a call for the expression of interest will be issued so that the project can start in four years’ time. The actual laying of the pipeline is expected to take two years.
The pipeline, which will be around 160 kilometres long, will cost around €350 million. More than 150 kilometres of the pipeline will be under the sea while another seven kilometres will connect the pipeline to the terminal station in Gela.
Around a quarter of the energy, which will be provided by the pipeline will be enough to cater for the current amount of energy required by the power station, leaving substantial reserve power.
The three contracts awarded in connection with the studies have gone to Italian company Lighthouse SpA, Maltese company AIS Environment Ltd, CESI SpA and VDP Srl, Techfem SpA and Systems Project Services Srl.