Ge­orge M. Man­gion

Read­ers might ask: what is the rel­e­vance of spend­ing mil­lions to lay a gas pipe­line to Italy other than to use it ex­clu­sively for elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion?

Malta Independent - - BUSINESS & FINANCE -

Do we need this source of en­ergy when we can eas­ily buy cheap elec­tric­ity via the sub­ma­rine ca­ble? The an­swer is that gas sup­ply via a pipe­line guar­an­tees more flex­i­bil­ity in prices and opens up op­por­tu­ni­ties that will en­able us to be­come an ex­port hub. Again, hav­ing a sur­plus of power sup­ply makes us more flex­i­ble and as­sures us that fu­ture in­creases in de­mand will not be a prob­lem.

The ideal so­lu­tion would be to start look­ing for in­vestors to search for gas in our off­shore wa­ters em­u­lat­ing the suc­cess in Cyprus, Egypt, Libya, Tu­nisia and Al­giers. Some may say this is a pipe dream. Real­ists may pos­si­bly as­sert that pro­vided suf­fi­cient cap­i­tal is in­vested in ex­plo­ration, this could in the near fu­ture en­able us to ex­port our own hy­dro­car­bons to Europe. Can our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers stop and re­flect that we have no cur­rent ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­ity planned for the fore­see­able fu­ture?

This may be an un­palat­able story since de­spite a lack of dis­cov­er­ies in both oil and gas in past decades, we have been re­peat­edly re­minded by top ge­ol­o­gists that the prospect for dis­cov­er­ies in the Mal­tese con­ti­nen­tal shelf is bright and that we should not shy away from start­ing an in­ten­sive ex­plo­ration pro­gramme. Granted, this is a risky sec­tor and, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the cur­rent low oil prices, it re­quires a re­newed ini­tia­tive by gov­ern­ment to swiftly re­solve any de­lin­eation dis­putes with neigh­bour­ing coun­tries as only thus can we ex­pect to at­tract new in­vest­ment.

In the fifth bud­get of this ad­min­is­tra­tion there was the wel­come news that there is now a firm com­mit­ment to set up a na­tional oil com­pany.

Malta has used heavy fuel oil and gas oil for power gen­er­a­tion

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