[WATCH] New Ħas Saptan fuel storage facility to be open by next year

The opening of the new facility will also mean the closure of the old and outdated Birżebbuġa facility

The newly built fuel storage facilities. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
The newly built fuel storage facilities. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Work on a new fuel storage facility at Ħas Saptan near Gudja is well underway with Enemed, the state-owned fuel supplier, looking to it being operational by the start of 2020.

The €55 million project will see Enemed shifting its operations from the Birzebbuga facility, located in the middle of a residential area to its new facility.

Addressing a press conference, Energy Minister Joe Mizzi said the new facility would be using space in a more efficient manner, while adhering to all the highest environmental, efficiency and safety standards. 

The new site has a surface area of 6,600 sq.m and will consist of an administration block, workshop, stores and a number of certified fuel tanks buried below the ground.

The site will also include a new road tanker filling station consisting of six loading lanes with three loading arms in each lane for different fuels. 

“The development will be meeting today’s safety standards, and the project will be using the latest industry practices and standards,” Mizzi said. 

Asked when the Birzebbuga facility is expected to be completely shut down, the minister said that when the Ħas Saptan project reaches its conclusion towards the end of the year, the transferring process will commence. 

(Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Enemed Executive Chairman Kevin Chircop said that once this happens, the Birzebbuga facility will be placed on what is referred to as a cold standby, meaning it will be kept as a standby for a pre-defined period.

“The systems at the new Ħas Saptan facility will need go through rigorous testing, which is expected to start by September. After three months of testing, the Ħas Saptan facility would be allowed to operate by December,” he said. 

Mizzi said that the closing down of the Birzebbuga facility would mean another fulfilled electoral promise, adding that residents deserved a nicer and better-looking hometown.

Ħas Saptan was designed by the British Admiralty in the cold war era, and was financed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 

The facility was designed to provide a secure fuel storage facility for the NATO’s Mediterranean fleet during the cold war. 

The complex is connected to the Grand Harbour and the Birzebbuga Harbour, through existing underground tunnels. 

READ ALSO: Decommissioning of Birzebbugia fuel tanks starts today  

 

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