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The government is exploring the possibility of “latching on” to Algerian gas supply, which would be possible thanks to the existence of exit clauses in the contract signed with ElectroGas, the private consortium building the new gas‐fired Delimara plant.

These exit clauses in the contract are timed to coincide with the development of a pipeline between Malta and Sicily.

Government sources explained that a joint team on the energy front will be set up between the Maltese and Algerian governments next week once the terms of reference have been agreed upon.

Algeria already has a gas pipeline to Sicily, so the government could potentially buy gas from the Algerians then import it back to Malta via its own gas pipeline once it is up and running.

Sources said this would tie in the European Commission’s insistence that all member states move away from reliance on Russian gas and diversify their supply.

The government is currently pushing for a high percentage of EU funding for the pipeline project, with detailed studies being undertaken at the moment to assess the best route for the pipeline.

The same sources explained that not all gas purchased by the Maltese government will necessarily be used for the gas‐ fired plant.

A number of cruise line operators have been in talks with the government for the supply of gas to cruise liners.

There is a big push towards the use of natural gas in cruise liners particularly when they are in port due to its lower emissions.

The government could potentially supply these cruise liners with gas through barges.

Malta as an oil and gas trading hub

The government is also exploring the possibility of functioning as an energy hub in the Mediterranean.

Talks are under way with the Algerian government to explore oil and gas bunkering opportunities off Algeria.

Given the lack of bunkering space in Malta, Maltese businesses are pushing for the chance to use bunkering services in Algeria then sell on the energy products to Europe.

Sources said the Azeri company Socar‐ which forms part of the ElectroGas consortium‐ is very interested in using Malta as an energy hub through the bunkering opportunities being offered in Algeria.

Were this to come to fruition, sources said this would also ultimately translate into cheaper energy products being offered in Malta.

Tag(s) : #Energy

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