Uncertainty Surrounds Funding for Malta-Italy Gas Pipeline

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Uncertainty Surrounds Funding for Malta-Italy Gas Pipeline

Pin marked Malta on map (© Shutterstock/JoaoCachapa)
Pin marked Malta on map (© Shutterstock/JoaoCachapa)

The Melita TransGas Pipeline, connecting Malta and Italy, faces uncertain funding prospects in the EU's 6th list. Recent controversies regarding its financing have emerged, casting doubt on its inclusion.

In a report an EU official disclosed the uncertain status of the pipeline's funding in the EU project list. These statements have increased doubts about the project's chances of securing EU funding, despite claims of progress by the government.

The Melita TransGas Pipeline, proposed to span 159 kilometers from Delimara in Malta to Gela in Italy, aims to transport natural gas, renewable gases, and hydrogen between the two nations.

While the European Union's Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) guidelines prioritize renewable energy and electricity interconnections, Malta received a special exemption. As a result, the project was added to the EU's 5th list of common interest (PCI) projects in 2022, making it potentially eligible for EU funding to cover its $423 million (€400 million) cost.

In February, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli announced the government's efforts to establish a "gas pipeline between Malta and the rest of the EU," emphasizing ongoing work on the second interconnector and renewable energy projects related to the Melita pipeline, including offshore developments.

However, when questioned about the project's potential inclusion in the 6th list, set to be published in late November, an EU official declined to confirm or deny its status. 

"Member States have agreed that Malta needs to end its energy isolation through integration into the trans-European gas network. On that basis, it was decided to include the Malta-Italy Gas pipeline in the 5th PCI list. The sixth list is still in the making and is due to be adopted later this autumn," the official stated.

Even if the project secures a place on the 6th list, its funding remains uncertain. The EU official noted, "It is important to highlight that while inclusion on the PCI list makes the project eligible for Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) financing, access to CEF financing is subject to a separate application process involving an independent evaluation conducted by experts contracted by the executive agency CINEA."

When asked about an investigation into the project's inclusion in the 5th list and its findings, the EU official did not provide a response. Nevertheless, the Malta-Italy project has received CEF financing for preparatory studies but has not yet secured funding for the actual pipeline construction.

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