LNG project’s ‘se­ri­ous fail­ings’ show it cor­rupt deal by a cor­rupt clique’ – PN c

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Ju­lian Bon­nici

The numer­ous – and se­ri­ous – is­sues sur­round­ing the Float­ing Stor­age Unit of the De­li­mara nat­u­ral gas power sta­tion need to be ad­dressed, PN Pres­i­dent Ann Fenech said at a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

Dr Fenech re­ferred to Marsaxlokk Bay’s ex­po­sure to the el­e­ments, a lack of real-time wave stud­ies and the po­ten­tial fail­ure of the storm moor­ing sys­tem as ob­vi­ous safety risks that have been “ig­nored” by Elec­tro­gas in the risk as­sess­ments they car­ried out when study­ing the ves­sel.

Shadow En­ergy Min­is­ter Marthese Portelli added that the project’s “se­ri­ous fail­ings” con­firm that the deal was not in the na­tion’s best in­ter­ests, but was “a cor­rupt deal done by the cor­rupt clique in government”.

The wave stud­ies car­ried out con­cern­ing wave cli­mate and wave pen­e­tra­tion were based purely on sim­u­lated math­e­mat­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions in­stead of us­ing an ac­tual wave buoy study to gather real-time data, Dr Fenech claimed. In fact, she said, the re­port clearly states that the waves en­ter­ing the bay may ac­tu­ally be higher than what was in­di­cated in the re­ports.

She then raised con­cerns re­gard­ing the jetty clas­si­fi­ca­tion, since Elec­tro­gas has not yet pro­vided the nec­es­sary safety cer­tifi­cates to the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties. This was con­firmed by Cap­tain Bugeja of Trans­port Malta at Fri­day’s pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing.

There have been con­flict­ing re­ports re­gard­ing the po­ten­tial fail­ing of the storm moor­ing sys­tem, since a re­port in De­cem­ber 2015 had been de­ter­mined as un­sat­is­fac­tory or in­con­clu­sive; a re­port in July 2016 then called for the use of an­chor piles in­stead and then a memo in Au­gust 2016 said that there will be no an­chor piles.

Elec­tro­gas has also com­pletely ig­nored SICTO reg­u­la­tions by omit­ting the stip­u­lated quick-re­lease hook be­tween the ves­sel and the jetty, ac­cord­ing to Dr Fenech. The fail­ure to in­stall th­ese hooks means there is the pos­si­bil­ity of the FSU ex­pe­ri­enc­ing se­ri­ous prob­lems in stormy weather, since the tug boats (which will be em­ployed once FSU be­comes a ‘cold’ ship) are un­able to cope with waves more than 2m high.

The col­li­sion per­mu­ta­tions pre­sented by Elec­tro­gas are also another area of con­cern, since they do not con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity of a col­li­sion once the ves­sel is on the storm moor­ing sys­tem, and also fail to take into ac­count the pos­si­bil­ity of nav­i­ga­tional and tech­ni­cal er­rors.

There was a fail­ure to pro­duce emer­gency plans on the marine side, Dr Fenech said. This was es­pe­cially alarm­ing since nei­ther the Civil Pro­tec­tion De­part­ment nor Trans­port Malta would claim re­spon­si­bil­ity for this con­tin­gency plan, with the CPD ad­mit­ting that it did not cur­rently posses the nec­es­sary equip­ment to tackle this sce­nario.

With re­gard to the CPD, Dr Fenech said that there had been a com­plete breach of the Seveso Di­rec­tive since there were sev­eral empty pages in the CPD ex­ter­nal emer­gency re­port. She then ques­tioned Elec­tro­gas’ claims that they would not be able to re­veal parts of the plan since they could pos­si­bly be used by po­ten­tial at­tack­ers.

Se­ri­ous omis­sions in Elec­tro­gas safety re­port ex­treme weather con­di­tions re­moved from risk as­sess­ment

There were also other se­ri­ous gaps in the Elec­tro­gas safety re­port since ex­treme weather con­di­tions had been dis­carded from the risk as­sess­ment, Dr Fenech said.

The Quan­ti­ta­tive Risk As­sess­ment also ex­posed ma­jor faults, ac­cord­ing to Dr Fenech, since they had been based on a re­port that had been deemed in­con­clu­sive and un­sat­is­fac­tory. She then re­ferred to the COMAH statis­tic that, in fact, only one storm in 50 years would re­sult in a mod­er­ate or cat­a­strophic out­come.

She ex­pressed se­vere dis­dain for the Elec­tro­gas claim that ‘fa­tal­i­ties were at an ac­cept­able level’, point­ing out that fa­tal­i­ties should not even be a pos­si­bil­ity.

Elec­tro­gas’ claims that there are al­ready FSUs based in ex­posed bays were com­pletely false, Dr Fenech said, point­ing out that the ex­am­ple they gave of an FSU sta­tioned in the port of Klaipeda in Lithua­nia was ac­tu­ally a re­gasi­fi­ca­tion unit and was si­t­u­ated deep in­side the bay and not ex­posed to the el­e­ments as is the FSU in De­li­mara.

The stud­ies also ig­nore the ge­o­log­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions of the area, specif­i­cally the rock face be­hind the jetty from which large pieces of rock have fallen as re­cently as July.

There was also no men­tion of third party li­a­bil­ity in­surance and com­pen­sa­tion in the event that there was dam­age or in­juries or death, Dr Fenech claimed. She then went on to say that when she pressed the com­pany for an an­swer to th­ese points they could not pro­vide one.

She pro­posed that the FSU could com­pletely avoid th­ese safety con­cerns by be­ing lo­cated 22km off­shore, as was the case with a sim­i­lar fa­cil­ity in Livorno.

Shadow En­ergy Min­is­ter Marthese Portelli in­sisted that it was un­ac­cept­able that the government would con­tinue to feed for the government to con­tinue feed­ing the pub­lic in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion on the project.

She went on to claim that it was clear that the project was not for the ben­e­fit of the pop­u­la­tion, which was ap­par­ent from Fri­day’s meet­ing at which Ene­malta chair­man Fredrick Az­zopardi’s pre­sen­ta­tion showed that Malta has more than enough en­ergy to meet its en­ergy needs.

The high­est max­i­mum elec­tri­cal gen­er­a­tion the coun­try has ever ex­pe­ri­enced was 438MW in Au­gust 2015, Mr Az­zopardi said, whilst the cur­rent gen­er­a­tional ca­pac­ity is 579 MW.

Ul­ti­mately, Dr Fenech said, the project was “a cor­rupt deal done by the cor­rupt clique in government.”

PN spokesman for Plan­ning, Ryan Cal­lus, raised con­cerns re­gard­ing the no-fly zone im­posed above the bay, claim­ing that this was usu­ally used in war zones.

PN can­di­date Mark An­thony Sam­mut also crit­i­cised Fri­day’s pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing for be­ing dom­i­nated by long-winded pre­sen­ta­tions by the op­er­a­tors and agen­cies in­volved in the project, say­ing that it left lit­tle time for the pub­lic to ac­tu­ally ex­press them­selves.

MP Toni Bezzina was also in at­ten­dance.

Neg­a­tive pol­i­tics and fear cam­paign Labour Party

The neg­a­tive pol­i­tics and cam­paign of fear in Simon Busut­til’s Na­tion­al­ist Party is symp­to­matic of a party with­out any en­ergy plan, the Labour Party said in reaction to the PN’s press con­fer­ence.

It said that point­less ar­gu­ments are be­ing used by the Opposition to dis­guise the fact that PN leader Simon Busut­til would like to con­tinue work­ing with the heavy fuel oil-pow­ered De­li­mara 1 and re­open the power sta­tion in Marsa.

PN’s only plan is to keep us­ing HFO

The more the Opposition says, the more it con­firms that its only plan is to use heavy fuel oil in the fu­ture, so it will be able to in­crease prices, the OPM said in a state­ment.

It went on to say that it was ridicu­lous that the Opposition first be­gan com­plain­ing of ex­plo­sions and is now rais­ing con­cerns about weather con­di­tions, when the ex­perts for the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties have shown that the project will have the lat­est safety mea­sures.

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