Malta-Italy Gas Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
The pipeline would run from Dalima, Malta to Gela, Sicily, Italy.
- Operator: Melita Transgas Ltd.
- Parent company: Government of Malta
- Capacity: 2.03 billion cubic meters per year
- Length: 159 km / 99 mi
- Diameter: 560 mm / 22 inches
- Cost: €487,662,000 ($593,000,000)
- Financing: Two grants totalling €4,032,848 from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility
- Status: Proposed
- Start Year: 2024
In April 2018 the European Council proposed to build a 159-km bidirectional pipeline to Italy, which would bring Malta into compliance with a European Union (EU) requirement that "no EU Member State should remain isolated from the European gas and Electricity networks after 2015." In July 2019 Malta agreed to pay the full €400 million (about 440 million USD) estimated cost of the project, which would be completed by 2024.
The project has been approved as project 5.19 on the European Commission's Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list and is also included in the Italian government's 10-year natural gas development plan for 2020-2029. As a result of its PCI status, the project has received public money grants from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF): €352,848 in 2015 for an initial route identification study, and; €3,680,000 in 2017 for technical preparation studies.
Following these two grant approvals, in February 2020 Malta Today reported that the project had "hit a snag" after failing to receive additional funding from the CEF's 2019 round of grant approvals for PCI projects. The project promoters applied for the final CEF funding round within the 2014-2020 EU Budget period. Due to Malta's failure to receive European Union funding support for the Malta-Italy Gas Pipeline in the latest round of CEF disbursements, in January 2021 Energy minister Miriam Dalli said that, in order to try again for EU funding, Malta will advance the project as a "hydrogen-ready" pipeline. This is because the next PCI list in 2021 – the fifth to date – will be more stringent on gas projects. CEF funding is expected to be spent only on renewable and low carbon gases, such as smart gas grids, and green gases, typically biogas and biomethane, but also hydrogen. These delays in funding are likely to lead to a delay in the pipeline's expected operating year of 2024.
In February 2021, Malta Today reported that following Malta's re-submission of the project as "hydrogen-ready", the European Commission had fully declined the project for any further EU public money support. Information obtained through an EU freedom of information request revealed that the Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency had responded to the Maltese authorities' resubmission of the project by saying that the design lacked "justification to what extent [it] would actually be used for renewable gases". A senior government source told the newspaper that there was now no chance for the project to receive European money and that attempts will be made to tap other sources of finance, including private capital.
European Commission reports describe the pipeline as follows: "Malta-Italy Gas Pipeline Interconnection consists in a 22” diameter pipeline from Delimara (Malta) to Gela (Sicily) with 159 km length (151 km offshore and 8 km onshore) and two terminal stations. Once implemented, it will end Malta’s isolation by connecting it to the European Gas Network. The primary aim is to import gas from Italy to meet Malta’s demand for power generation and subsequently, subject to market evolution, the inland market."
The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) refers to the project as "TRA-A-31" (sometimes written as "TRA-A-031") and projects it will cost €487,662,000. According to the ENTSOG 2020 Ten Year Network Development Plan, construction is slated to begin in March 2023 and complete in June 2024. However, as of September 2020, the Melita Transgas schedule states that operations are to commence in 2025.
Articles and resources
- "GasPipeline | Gas Pipeline". Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- "€350 million Malta-Sicily gas pipeline to be in place by 2024". MaltaToday.com.mt. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- INNOVATION AND NETWORKS EXECUTIVE AGENCY (December 2020). "Studies for Malta-Italy Gas Interconnection: ESIA, marine survey, FEED, EPC tender preparation & financial engineering". Europa.eu. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (2020). "TYNDP - Annex A - Projects Tables RPJ007_NS_2020 - entsog". ENTSOG. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
- European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (November 25, 2020). "TYNDP 2020 Annex A.2 – Project Tables". ENTSOG. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
- Construction of the Malta-Italy Gas Pipeline European Union Project of Common Interest 5.19 Delimara Malta – Gela Sicily, Italy, Ministry for European Affairs and Equality, Apr. 2, 2018
- Malta agrees with Italy to fund gas pipeline to Sicily, Malta Today, Jul. 26, 2019
- "UNION LIST OF PROJECTS OF COMMON INTEREST" (PDF). European Commission. October 31, 2019.
- "Piano decennale di sviluppo della rete di trasporto del gas naturale 2020-2029" (PDF). SNAM. January 31, 2020.
- Route identification study including conceptual design and preparatory activities for the permitting process for a gas pipeline connection between Malta and Sicily, European Commission, accessed Dec. 7, 2020
- Studies for Malta-Italy Gas Interconnection: ESIA, marine survey, FEED, EPC tender preparation & financial engineering, European Commission, accessed Dec. 7, 2020
- Matthew Vella, "Gas pipeline funds hit a snag as EU skips Malta project in 2020", Malta Today, Feb. 17, 2020
- Laura Calleja, Malta to push ahead on hydrogen-ready pipeline after losing out on EU funds, Malta Today, Jan. 5, 2021
- Matthew Vella, EU door to gas pipeline finance is shut, despite hydrogen-ready changes to plan, Malta Today, Feb. 14, 2021
- Connection of Malta to the European Gas network — pipeline interconnection with Italy at Gela European Commission, accessed December 11, 2019