26 JUNE 2002

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Oil well abandonment greeted with scepticism

Speaking to The Malta Financial and Business Times yesterday, Labour environment spokesman Joe Mizzi said he could not understand why the drilling that has just been completed offshore Gozo had not been carried out in another potentially promising area.

The alternative area in question, according to Mr Mizzi, due to its geological features stood a good chance of yielding positive results and satellite photographs had shown oil seepage in the area.

Unfortunately, several attempts made by this newspaper to reach Dr Godwin Debono, Head of the Oil Exploration Division, by phone and fax for his comments proved fruitless by the time we went to press yesterday evening.

Mean while, Mr Mizzi alluded to the fact that there could be a link between these constant dismal results when it came to oil exploration and the question of EU membership. Mr Mizzi said that if Malta were to strike oil, it would be less in the country’s interest to join the EU because then it would have to pay out more in contributions.

He reiterated that it is plain to see that if Malta found oil it would make more sense to remain out of the EU. He cites Norway, which has substantial oil reserves, as a case in point.

The labour government, Mr Mizzi explains, had signed profit-sharing contracts of exploration with other companies, while all the new Nationalist government had to do was authorise the go-ahead, but to date these contracts for oil exploration are still on the shelf.

Things were not happening as they ought to, Mr Mizzi said.

Eni SpA has completed drilling just off the north-west shores of Gozo and the semi-submersible rig Actinia has abandoned its position after having plugged the 4,115 metre well it just finished digging. Depending on the results of tests that are being carried out in Milan, Eni SpA could dig another exploratory well.


Copyright © Network Publications Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07, Malta
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt