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