Gas explosions do happen: Din l-Art Helwa draws Mepa’s attention to a recent accident in the US

April 7, 2014

In a letter, signed by DLĦ Gen Secretary Mr George Camilleri, to Perit Vince Cassar,  MEPA Chairman, Din l-Art Ħelwa has expressed its extreme concern regarding the safety of the recently approved LNG gas facility.  The alarm was raised by information of an accident that occurred recently at an LNG facility on the Washington-Oregon border as reported in the Times of Malta of March 31st 2014.

Although the number of fatalities was not impressive enough to achieve world-wide headline status, the significance of the accident should not escape the attention of our decision makers. The report affirms that state police evacuated some 400 residents to a 3.2 kilometre radius. One assumes that the state police considered that anybody within the 3.2 kilometre radius could be in some danger from the damaged facility.

This is in contrast to the Delimara LNG facility, which is going to be within 1.5 km of Marsaxlokk with a population of 3000.

Din l-Art Ħelwa reiterates its position that the FSU solution should not have been approved once the potential for a tragic accident does exist. Although the probability of a mishap has been arguably estimated as being extremely remote, the very fact that the possibility does exist should have ruled out the approved solution and opted for the safer FSRU one.

The entire MEPA board bears the cross of an enormous burden of responsibility on its conscience for approving the project before complete studies had been carried out.

Had these studies been carried out, it would have transpired that the Delimara configuration with an FSU in harbour and with an onshore re-gassification plant is unique in the world while 16 offshore FSRUs have either already deployed or are in the process of being deployed. Moving a combination offshore FSRU/re-gassification facility many kilometres offshore will completely eliminate any possible chance of such occurrences ever causing harm to the residents.

Mr. Camilleri wrote, ‘Although unfortunately the die seems to be cast, your comments , as MEPA Chairman, would be welcome in view of the reported accident’.

View the letter here:

delimara letter MEPA 07042014

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