New power station deadline to be given end November - Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi
Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi said today that he will be in a position to give an exact timeframe for the gas power station project towards the end of November.
Addressing a press conference this afternoon, Dr Mizzi
said the project has started and a new deadline will be announced as soon as the tri-party agreements (between the government, Electrogas and Shanghai Electric Power) are concluded.
When asked by The Malta Independent
if the government had set a target for the project completion, Dr Mizzi
said that there is one but he
prefers to "remain cautious" at this stage.
"Please bear with me for a few more weeks until we close the loops between the three parties."
When asked what the real reason for the delay was, Dr Mizzi
said the initial negotiations with Shanghai Electric Power were quite speedy but talks from the engineering perspective took longer than expected after the Chinese came up with a few technical proposals.
The Minister said Enemalta
had no choice but to seek a third investing partner to finance the conversion of the BWSC
plant to run on gas.
The Minister explained that the projects being carried out by ElectroGas and SEP are intertwined because the former have to be advised on the completion date of the latter's project so as to synchronise its gas shipments.
This paper also asked the Minister to clarify an announcement he
made on Monday, when he
said that Shell
will be providing the fuel (LNG) for the new power station and the converted BWSC plant, raising questions about SOCAR's future in the ElectroGas consortium.
reply Dr Mizzi
said SOCAR will be, among other things responsible for trading and hedging gas and coordinating gas shipments but it will buy the fuel from Shell
"The LNG will not be shipped from Azerbaijan.
In reply to questions sent by this paper today, SOCAR also insisted that it will remain part of the consortium.
Asked if the Chinese are still willing to invest €320 in Enemalta
when the government was saying that it will not be bound to buy all energy produced by BWSC
, Dr Mizzi
clarified that not all the amount will be used for the conversion of the plant.
explained that Enemalta
will need various generation platforms, some of which can be kept in reserve.
The company will be able to choose which plant to use to produce the bulk of the energy load, according to pricing at the time.
It is envisaged that, in the first few years, the Siemens
plant will be the main equipment used, followed in priority by BWSC
and the interconnector.
However, if interconnector prices fall drastically in the future the main load could be shifted onto the undersea cable.
When asked if the government is considering doing away with the gas tanker that will be moored in Marsaxlokk now that the project has been delayed, Dr Mizzi
said the ElectroGas system allows for a quick replacement of the tanker with a gas pipeline.
did not say whether this would actually happen.
also announced that a maritime study is being conducted by a company called Marin.
said the people who criticised the government yesterday are the same people who insisted when they were still in government that tariffs could not be decreased.
Now they are trying to take the credit by saying that tariffs decreased thanks to BWSC
At the end of the day, said Dr Mizzi
, this government reduced energy bills for households and will decrease tariffs for industry in March, a move that will further boost the economy.
will become profitable a few years down the line.
PV panels tender
On the "irregular" €35 million PV tender issued by the previous administration, Dr Mizzi accused former Resources Minister George Pullicino of trying to evade responsibility.
said the proposal was made by Alberta and was shortly after given a green light by George Pullicino's ministry.
This could be easily looked up on the Spanish company's website, said Dr Mizzi
, who showed the media a photo of the event.
All this happened a full three months before the Malta Resources Authority gave its go-ahead, so the Minister could not blame the MRA.
"Georgie lied when he
had nothing to do with this."
said the PV contract was fishy.
defies Speaker's ruling,...