The MTG Pipeline project extends within the jurisdictions of two nations Italy and Malta.
Pursuant to Article 10 of the Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (TEN-E), the permitting process of the MTG Pipeline is split into two main phases:
  • The pre-application procedure which starts from the date that the written acknowledgement from the last Competent Authority is received and ends with the acceptance of the submitted application file by the Project Promoter to the Competent Authority.
  • The statutory permit granting procedure which covers the period until the comprehensive decision is taken by the Competent Authorities.

The TEN-E Regulation states that every European Union Member State is to set up a ‘One Stop Shop’ to deal with the permitting process of the PCI projects and stipulates a maximum time frame of 3.5 years for both procedures. The Competent Authorities for the above procedure are the Planning Authority for Malta and the Ministry of Economic Development (Ministero Dello Sviluppo Economico – MISE) for Italy.

For the purpose of establishing the start of the permit granting process, the project promoter has submitted in July/September 2017 a notification with the application forms together with the scoping reports to the Competent Authorities in Malta and Italy. The pre-application permitting procedures formally commenced in November 2017 when both Authorities acknowledged that the project is mature enough for the launching of these procedures as stipulated in the Article 10.1 of TEN-E Regulation.

This was followed with the issuance of the terms of reference of the EIA studies by the Italian and Maltese Authorities. MTG Co., supported by the joint venture composed by the international consultancy companies AIS, VDP and CESI, is currently undertaking the permitting activities including environmental impact studies and related actions. The Environmental Impact Assessment and Appropriate Assessment covering the Maltese side have been completed and submitted to the Competent Authority in February 2020.

Additionally, as part of the permitting process, and following request from the Italian authorities during the permitting process, MTG are in the process of carrying out a baseline ecological study both for the onshore and offshore areas of Gela and also an onshore geophysical survey specifically aimed at identifying any remains of archaeological nature along the proposed onshore route.  

Process Timeline

Pre-Application Procedure

11/2015. Start of the Preparatory Activities for Permitting Granting Process

06/2017. Completion of the Preparatory Activities for Permitting Granting
Process – Route Identification Study and Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment

30/03/2018. Start of Project Scoping Public Consultation Period in Italy and Malta

10/04/2018. Public Consultation Meeting in Marsaxlokk (Malta)

17/04/2018. Public Consultation Meeting in Gela (Sicily – Italy)

18/04/2018. Public Consultation Meeting in Palermo (Sicily – Italy)

19/04/2018. Public Consultation Meeting in Rome (Italy)

20/05/2018. End of 1st Public Consultation Period

22/10/2018. Start of Permitting Activities including EIA in Malta and Italy

28/08/2020. Submission of the EIA and AA to the Maltese Competent Authority

15/03/2020. Launching of public consultation for EIA/AA in Malta by the Competent Authority

26/04/2020. Transboundary Consultation process launched by the Competent Authorities


Statutory Permitting Procedure (planned)

Q2/2020 — Submission and start of validation of the Full Application files

Q3/2020 – Q3/2021 Public Consultations in Malta and Italy

Q4/2021. Issuance of Permits

Feature published on giving an update of the project status at the time of the interviews held on the 6th of June 2020.

Impact and Mitigations measures
As part of the Basic Design, a preliminary assessment of the environmental impacts has been conducted based on the information currently available, the knowledge of the existing state of the project area and the experience acquired in similar projects implemented with comparable settings. The main environmental and socioeconomic impacts that might occur during the construction and operation of the MTG Pipeline and all the necessary mitigation measures have been identified.

Through a careful analysis of the various options for the hydrogen ready pipeline route, the most significant impacts on the various environmental components were reduced to a minimum, with a view to choosing the one that creates the least interference. The impacts associated with the construction of the hydrogen ready pipeline and the related infrastructure are mainly temporary and located within the working zones. The few and minor permanent impacts are instead limited to the sites of the above ground terminal stations and block valve stations.

Potential Impact
Mitigation Measures
Excavation works during construction (pipeline route, terminal station, block valve stations)
Conservation and correct management of the topsoil and restoration of the topsoil, following completion of the construction activities
Emissions from machinery and vessels during the construction
Implementation of a periodic maintenance and control Plan to minimise the emissions
Impacts on aquatic habitats, water quality and fluvial morphology due to the execution of construction activities
Minimization of impacts interference with wetlands and water bodies. Implementation of an Environmental Monitoring Plan that also includes the monitoring of water bodies and the impacts on flora and fauna in sensitive areas
Temporary impact on land use
Restoration of all temporarily occupied areas to their ante-operam conditions
Interference with the natural resources during the construction and commissioning
Selection of the location of the pipeline route and related infrastructure so as to avoid the areas with greater biodiversity or naturalistic value. Management of dust, atmospheric emissions, wastewater and waste in order to minimize the impacts on flora, fauna and ecosystems
Visual and landscape impacts due to land use and above ground structures of construction activities
Minimization of the areas involved Implementation of a vegetation and landscape restoration plan
Alteration of the seabed in the areas in which the excavation and pipe laying works will be carried out
Management of the design and construction in order to minimize the interference caused
Direct material damage caused by the laying of the offshore pipeline
Detailed investigation of the known monuments, cultural constraints and archaeological sites   

The above table was enhanced by the compilation of the EIA and AA documents which formed an integral part of the permitting processes.

The first version of the documents for the Maltese side of the project have been provided to the Environmental and Resource Authority (ERA) in Malta. These documents are publicly available on the following link.

The corresponding set of documents covering the Italian side of the project will be submitted to the respective Competent Authorities in the coming months.   

Public Consultation
Pursuant to Art 9(4) of the TEN-E Regulation and as part of the pre-application procedure, the 1st round of Public Consultations were held in Gela, Palermo, Rome and Malta and the positive outcomes have been an important input for the ongoing permitting activities.
  • 10/04/2018: Public Consultation Meeting in Marsaxlokk (Malta)
  • 17/04/2018: Public Hearing in Gela (Sicily)
  • 18/04/2018: Public Hearing in Palermo (Sicily)
  • 19/04/2018: Public Hearing in Rome (Italy)

The following documents were made available prior to the start of the public consultation: 

The feedback received in general was positive in both countries with some minor concerns expressed about environmental, archaeological and safety features. Clarifications were requested regarding the advantages of the project for the Maltese and for the territory of Gela. The answers provided have clarified the purpose of the project and the positive effects on the Maltese and Italian side. A  public consultation report with the conclusions from this activity was also compiled. All the comments raised were inserted in the FEED’s scope of work as to mitigate the impacts envisaged.

All completed and ongoing activities including the marine survey, FEED and environmental studies were conducted in close consultation with the Maltese Authorities, Sicilian Regional Authorities, Central Italian Government Authorities, all interested stakeholders, local communities and NGOs.

MTG Co. is ensuring that the works are conducted hand-in-hand with all the relevant Sicilian Authorities as transparently as possible such that all activities are conducted in the correct manner and within the planned timeframe. Meetings between the Maltese Government representatives, contractors and Sicilian Authorities have started since 2016 and are planned to continue throughout development and the construction of the pipeline.

A second round of public consultations will be held during the statutory procedure of the permitting process in 2020 and 2021 i.e. before the issuance of development permit.

The statutory consultation will be carried out under the EIA Regulations:
  • The Maltese interested parties/ general public will be able to submit their comments on the part of the project located within both Italian and Maltese territory.
  • Similarly, the Italian interested parties/ general public will be able to submit their comments on the part of the project located within both Italian and Maltese territory.