Minister Joe Mizzi in bilateral talks with President Crocetta
Minister for Energy and Water Management Joe Mizzi said that the gas pipeline interconnector project is a strategic one, both at national and European levels as it will enhance the island’s energy system in terms of security of supply, sustainability, and affordability as required by the EU Acquis and EU Energy Policy.
The Minister explained this during a bilateral meeting with President of Sicily Rosario Crocetta, in Sicily. The outcome of this meeting was very positive and reaffirmed each side’s commitment towards the implementation of the project.
Minister Mizzi remarked that the gas pipeline project has been labelled as a ‘Project of European Common Interest’, thus enabling it to benefit from streamlined permitting procedures and EU co-financing.
In the past two years, detailed feasibility studies were conducted and several alternative landfalls and onshore routes were investigated. Gela was identified as the optimal location in terms of both technical and environmental constraints. The gas pipeline is planned to have a capacity of 2 billion cubic metres per year with a length of 159 km pipeline of which 7km shall be located onshore in Gela, where a terminal station will connect the pipeline to the Sicilian gas network.
Minister Mizzi said that during the past months, a series of high-level and technical meetings were held with authorities in Sicily during which the proposed route was agreed in principle.
“As a result of these meetings held last May, a letter of intent was signed between the Government of Malta and the Sicily Region which formalised the intention of both parties towards enhanced collaboration for the permit granting process”, the Minister said, adding that last summer, the permit granting process has been launched with the submission of the ‘Relazioni di Scoping’ to the Italian authorities.
“We are currently preparing a number of tenders so that we may start working on the necessary permitting and EIA studies during next year”, he said.
“May I take this occasion to express my sincere gratitude to President Crocetta and the Sicilian authorities for their continuous cooperation. We believe that even at these initial stages, your support and assistance is essential for the successful implementation of the project and we look forward to continuing our collaboration in the future”, Minister Joe Mizzi concluded.