Who is ElectroGas Malta and what is its main purpose in Malta?
ElectroGas Malta Ltd is a private entity, responsible for the construction and operation of the Malta LNG to Power Project, providing safe and reliable gas powered electricity for the first time to the Maltese Islands. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and CCGTs are the most efficient way to use that fuel for power generation, so the ElectroGas project is beneficial for Malta’s environment.
Design of the facilities began in late 2013 after the conclusion of the Enemalta tender process where the ElectroGas Malta consortium was selected. Construction began with the clearing of the power plant and regasification sites in the winter of 2014. The facilities are currently being finalised, ready for commissioning and initial operations.
The ElectroGas Malta Facilities consist of four main parts:
- A Floating Storage Unit – An LNG cargo vessel which has been converted specifically
for this project.
- The Jetty – The FSU is berthed on a custom built jetty, purposely constructed to
carry the LNG to shore so that it can be regasified.
- The regasification compound – The third main part of the facilities, where the LNG is
converted back to natural gas, a clean fuel alternative for Malta.
- D3 & D4 – The natural gas is piped towards Enemalta’s D3 unit and also to D4, a new combined cycle power plant, and the fourth component of the ElectroGas Malta installation. Siemens Industrial Turbines have designed this highly efficient and flexible arrangement of 3 x SGT800 Turbines, each with its own bypass stack and HRSG which then combine to feed steam into a single SGT900 steam turbine.
How much land is required for an LNG facility?
The amount of land required for an LNG facility depends on how much store at any given time and that depends on what you would use it for. We shall be using the natural gas derived from our LNG facilities to power two power station units located in Delimara.
As space on land in Malta is very limited, and because of the results of the initial safety studies carried out on the project, the chosen method of storage for the ElectroGas Malta project was on-board an FSU (Floating Storage Unit). This means that we would not need to take up space on land for storage, but only need the room for regasification. We are able to store 125,000 cubic metres of LNG safely on board the FSU. LNG is piped onshore for regasification.
The onshore gas facility is approx. 8,000 square metres with a pipeline feeding the two power plants D3 and D4. The ElectroGas Malta D4 power plant built by Siemens occupies around 12,000 square metres.
An important factor when building this plant was limiting its footprint and environmental impact. If the plant were to be fully land based, also storing LNG in land-based tanks, the plant would have had to be more than double its current size. This was an integral factor leading to the decision of FSU storage.
How was the location of Delimara selected and why does it have potential?
Safety studies carried out prior to the tendering process for this station identified two potential sites. One was at Marsa near the existing Marsa Power Station, and the other at Delimara. In the end Delimara was chosen as the preferable option.
Key elements required to set up our facility are:
- Access to the sea for a jetty to be built. Once LNG was identified as the preferred option to bring natural gas and clean energy to Malta, then a location to bring LNG carrier vessels was required. The LNG carrier vessels would need to berth alongside a proper LNG terminal jetty, compliant with all relevant standards and codes. In fact in our terminal the LNG carrier will berth alongside the FSU and we will perform what is known as Ship-to-Ship transfers.
- Protection from adverse weather. The Delimara bay protects the FSU from the prevailing wind directions and ElectroGas Malta have commissioned a spread mooring system to be able to safely ride out any particularly bad storms within the harbour, at a safe distance from the jetty.
- Access to seawater – which power plants use as a coolant, and which the LNG regasification plants can actually use to warm the LNG back up to gas.
- Access to the electricity network. Having a high voltage compound readily accessible to send out power is extremely useful and avoids having to dig up long distances of land to make new connections.
- Access for the large items of equipment to make it to site easily.
Why is LNG preferred for the new operation?
Natural Gas is a cleaner alternative to all other fossil fuels.
By powering both D3 and D4 with natural gas, the ElectroGas Malta project will enhance Malta’s environment by reducing emissions by 50% and particulate matter by over 90% compared to the previous power generation energy mix.
D4 being a CCGT is also able to further enhance the environment as it operates at a high efficiency of around 53%. This means that the same amount of power output can be reached with less fuel than a lower efficiency unit.
But the issue with using natural gas is how to get it to Malta. LNG is natural gas cooled down until it forms a liquid. It is important to note that it is not pressurised, only cooled down. In the process of cooling, it shrinks by a factor of around 600, which means more fuel can be stored per square metre. LNG is transported and stored safely and efficiently all over the world and is a good solution for Malta.
Why does the LNG have to be stored in a ship?
LNG is cooled, liquefied natural gas. It is liquefied to allow better storage (it occupies approx. 600 times less the space than actual gas) and transportation (liquid form is much safer as it is not combustible or explosive).
LNG is transported in purposely built, state-of-the-art LNG carriers. There are about 370 LNG carriers worldwide. All LNG tankers have double hulls for increased strength and high amounts of insulation in the tanks to keep the LNG cold (about -165 degrees Celsius).
LNG carriers are among the strongest, safest, and most technologically advanced ships in the world. At time of writing, LNG shipping has an excellent safety track record: no major accidents in more than 45 years, and no release of LNG during a total of 151 million miles travelled over 135,000 voyages.
How does ElectroGas Malta make sure that the new Delimara Project is safe and secure for Malta and its citizens?
Safety and the environment are our number one priority at ElectroGas Malta. The responsibilities we have for managing safety and the environment are met in a number of different ways:
The designs of the facilities all underwent Hazard Identifications and Hazard and Operability Study reviews. These reviews assess various scenarios, the likelihood of them occurring and what their impact would be. As a result of these reviews, anything identified as requiring modification was then applied to the design. Throughout this process, safety reports and risk assessments were also shared with the authorities, in full compliance with international regulations and standards that govern the gas industry as well as the COMAH, Seveso III and environmental regulations.
The sea studies and nautical risk assessments were carried out on the jetty and FSU mooring design by, independent expert company, Marin.
A rigorous testing regime has been followed at all stages of construction of the facilities, to ensure the operation is built as designed and the equipment is ready for use. This testing regime also adheres to international standards and codes, constantly quantifying and comparing actual with expected results. In order to ensure that the facilities are fully ready for operations
ElectroGas Malta is working with three different operators – all world renowned plant operations and maintenance professionals. Operations, HSE, security and maintenance will be handled by these Operators, closely supported by the ElectroGas Malta technical team. This ensures that the Power plant, Regasification compound and jetty, and FSU are expertly manned 24/7.
ESB International operate and maintain the power plant section of the facilities. ESB International have a proven track record of managing their own power plants, as well as providing operation and maintenance service to others, worldwide.
Reganosa operate and maintain the regasification compound and jetty. Reganosa own and operate an LNG terminal in Spain and bring with them a wealth of safety and security systems and experience, needed here in Malta.
Bumi Armada operate and maintain the FSU. Bumi Armada are the owners of the FSU which is being leased to ElectroGas Malta. This already makes them the most technically competent to maintain and operate it. However Bumi Armada also operate and maintain a fleet of FPSOs worldwide, complying with the highest standards in the industry.
All facilities will be running to stringent international regulations governing maritime gas installations. In addition, expert classification societies and external audits will ensure safe operations.
Our standard operating procedures, emergency operating procedures and intensive accident planning documentation and tests are not static documents but reviewed and updated, in line with industry best-practice.
Further to this, ElectroGas Malta is engaging closely with the CPD, OHSA, TM and ERA to ensure that the plant meets all the Maltese standards and legislation.
What type of land and sea environment conditions were used for site evaluation?
A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out at concept design stage of the project, and this has been a reference to ElectroGas Malta throughout the very detailed design and construction stage. Some modifications to the EIA were necessary during the design stage, a normal occurrence for this type of process. These changes have been reviewed and an updated statement forwarded to the authorities to confirm that the changes do not have adverse impacts.
What economic impact will result from this LNG facility?
This new facility being built in the South of Malta has and will continue to generate and support diverse economic development during the remainder of its construction and throughout its operation. Economic benefits are both direct and secondary.
Direct impacts include job creation, not just within ElectroGas Malta but also for the Operators who will operate and maintain the facilities, as well as increased business spending throughout the construction and operation phases.
Secondary economic impacts have been created through the provision of goods and services to the ElectroGas Malta facilities and the subsequent increase in employment and business activity necessary to produce these goods and services.
Is ElectroGas Malta considering opening the plant for public viewing at any point in time?
Yes, ElectroGas Malta shall organise site tours for the general public once the plant is operational and the critical testing period is complete. These shall be guided walk-throughs for anyone who is interested to know more about the plant & its processes. These walk-throughs will be promoted nationwide and advertised across various media. Thereafter ElectroGas Malta can be contacted by individual interest groups and we shall do our best to accommodate future guided tours.
Further details will be published on this website.
Where can one find more information & get questions answered?
You can browse our website www.electrogas.com.mt and get more information and facts from the various sections available. You may also call our Head Office in Malta on (+356) 2540 1200 or email us on email@example.com