‘Clear protocols to follow’ for gas storage tanker to sail to Malta

OPM Minister Konrad Mizzi says Armada LNG Mediterrana will dock in Malta in September

The Armada LNG Mediterrana will be providing liquefied natural gas to the new 215MV plant at Delimara
The Armada LNG Mediterrana will be providing liquefied natural gas to the new 215MV plant at Delimara

There are “clear protocols to follow” for Malta’s gas storage tanker to leave southeast Asia and sail towards Malta, according to the minister within the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Armada LNG Mediterrana will be providing liquefied natural gas to the new 215MV plant at Delimara, inside the Marsaxlokk harbour.

At the beginning of this month, 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 ceremony took place following a 17-month conversion of the vessel, undertaken by Bumi Armada, Electrogas Malta and Keppel Shipyards in Singapore.

But three weeks later, the tanker has not yet sailed away. However, Mizzi reassured that the tanker would still dock in Malta before the end of September.

“Work on the LNG tanker has been completed, including tests. It has been certified as safe and developed according to design. There are clear protocols to follow as when the tanker needs to travel this distance and coordination is currently being worked out so that the tanker can actually arrive to Malta in September,” Mizzi said.

The new gas-fired power station was originally envisaged to be completed in March 2015, but following delays, the gas plant was completed in June 2016.

Both the regasification unit and the jetty have been completed. Once the tanker arrives in September, the final interfaces will be developed between the tanker, the jetty and the power plant.

“Once this is completed and the permit is issued, electricity will start being generated via gas,” Mizzi added.

The government has stated that the LNG tanker would be used for a limited time until Malta has its gas pipeline with Italy in place.

Mizzi, who has retained responsibility of the energy sector within the Office of the Prime Minister, also reiterated that Malta could not depend on one single source of power.

A fire in the tunnel underneath the Kappara distribution centre earlier today caused damages to one of the 132 kV cables linking the Maghtab Interconnector Terminal to the national electricity grid.

“Once the interconnector cable was out of action, we had to switch to the Marsa power station and all plants at the Delimara power station. Even this was not enough to keep up with the demand. This confirms the need for an energy mix, which includes the new power plant, the gas-fired BWSC plant, the interconnector and renewable energy and diesel plants on standby in cases of emergency,” Mizzi said.

The minister went on to add that, once security of supply is confirmed, the Delimara ‘D1’ plant and the open cycle at the Marsa power station will be shut down once and for all.

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