Muscat confident on Libyan MOU despite oil crisis

Prime Minister says Labour discarded temporary power station conversion to diesel after 'experts said it would not be easily converted'.

Joseph Muscat said Labour
Joseph Muscat said Labour "discarded" an immediate conversion to diesel before the elections.

A Libyan oil procurement deal that is expected to follow a memorandum of understanding signed with the Maltese government this week, will come into force once Libya increases its oil production, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said today.

Despite the oil crisis affecting Libya, with the North African government currently losing control over 90% of its oil infrastructure, Muscat said it was "safe to say the memorandum of understanding is an important step."

"We have achieved in five months what the previous administration failed to achieved in 25 years," he insisted.

Libya's current oil production is at 60,000 barrels day, but to reach sustainable production levels it must increase to 1.7 million barrels by the end of the year.

'The agreement will come into force once Libya increases its production. The Libyan Prime Minister gave us indication of a timeframe but I won't speculate on this," Muscat said when asked over guarantees on the implementation of the MOU.

Asked whether Malta could expect the agreement to come into place next year, Muscat said households "can expect to see their utility bills reduced by next March", referring instead to budgetary cuts in energy prices that will be announced later this year.

Muscat paid tribute to Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan, saying his government was delivering on its pomises to Malta and that it had come back with this deal.

Questioned by the press over the extension of a permit for the use of heavy fuel oil at the Delimara power station, when the Labour Party had previously said it would instantly convert the plant to gas, Muscat reiterated that the government was against the use of HFO.

"Our energy is focused on converting the power station to gas. It is not feasible to convert the power station to temporarily run on diesel. We originally had that idea, but after speaking to experts it transpired it could not be as easily switched as believed.

"We in fact discarded this idea completely when we presented the public with our energy plan."

Turning on to the issue of out-of-stock medicines, Muscat said he was dissatisfied with the system being employed. "It is not at alarming levels, in the sense that people should not be alarmed. But the system is not satisfactory and the way the POYC (pharmacy of your choice) system works is untenable," Muscat said.

He expressed hope that by the time the budget for 2014 is presented in parliament, the government together with social partners would have a concrete strategy to change the system.

It's blantantly clear that the United States believes that what it could do others couldn't. Has Mrs Power forgotten the number of times her country with its veto prevented the United Nations to at least discuss the Israeli unwarranted attacks on Palestinian civilians and the illegal buildings of Settlements on Palestinian land, not to mention the use of agent Orange in Vietnam the effect of which is still being felt by the Vitnamese poplulation.