Hot air, gas and tangerine monsters
The Malta Independent on Sunday of 18th September carried two articles on the use of LNG and the LNG tanker now on its way here from Singapore: one by Dr Anne Fenech (p.9) and one by George M. Mangion (p.22). Both had some content that deserves comment.
To start with Anne Fenech: It is difficult to see what the point of most of the article was. The final piece about the LNG tanker insurance made a good point; the rest was flogging a very dead horse. The title – “LNG tanker: liquid-togas transformation must be done outside of port” – is a case in point. Dr Fenech knows that for re-gasification to be carried out on board there has to be a re-gasification unit on the tanker. And she knows equally well, having been present at the Mepa tanker hearing that that possibility was rejected outright. The Singapore tanker is a Floating Storage Unit (FSU) not a Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU). So the mention of Livorno which has a FSRU is not only old hat but also futile. Through deliberate choice, we are now unable to make the liquid-gas change “outside of port”. We are going to make it inside Marsaxlokk and actually on land where the re-gasification unit is sited, close to that “power station [government] does not need.”
George Mangion set out “to explain in non-technical terms the advantages of using LNG by way of cost savings, cleaner air and tries to demystify the myth about the dangers of transporting LNG in tangerine coloured carriers”. Regrettably, he ends up rather far away from that goal.
The first part, supposed to give “background” is detached from fact. The reason for going to seaborne storage was simple: when LNG usage rates by the Siemens turbine and the “converted” BWSC were worked out after the 2013 election, the maximum possible size of land storage required one LNG supply tanker a week. This was reckoned to be an uncomfortably high frequency.
There were no “dense fumes” belching out of the oil-fired plant – that is just George Mangion parroting a pre-election statement by Joseph Muscat. So much for “demystifying” any myth. BWSC has an exhaust cleaning device and the steam turbine boiler exhaust was sent up the 110-m high chimney when it was spread far and wide.
The Delimara utility is getting old, but is not decrepit. BWSC has not been converted to gas yet. Four engines are stopped for conversion; four are still running on HFO, belching those fumes of George Mangion’s dreams if perhaps Shanghai Electric switched off the scrubber.
LNG is NOT transmitted by pipeline except over very short distances (100m-200m).
Emissions of CO2 are not deemed to be “toxic”. Otherwise Mangion and the rest of us, but particularly trees at night would be busy emitting “toxic” vapour.
It would be prudent not to assume anything about those unpublished studies on Marsaxlokk; and it would have been decent of George Mangion to call for their publication. That would have been a real blow to “demystification”.
The conclusion is plain loopy, yet another version of the parrot cry that we can be “a hub” for every activity under the sun. The Gela-Malta pipeline, if it ever happens – will bring natural gas (in gas form) to Malta, making the LNG tanker redundant. And what a natural park for families in the vicinity of Zonqor Point (another PL parrot squawk to cover the American University occupation) has to do with the LNG tanker at Marsaxlokk, only George Mangion seems to know. So most of the “mystifying” has merely created or continued to perpetrate other myths. Poor fellow my country.