The Malta Independent 17 August 2019, Saturday

Initial €55 million investment, creation of 150 quality jobs at former shipbuilding site

Neil Camilleri Tuesday, 26 April 2016, 19:28 Last update: about 4 years ago

Ablecare Oilfield Services will be making an initial investment of €55 million to turn the former shipbuilding site into the Mediterranean Maritime Hub, which will provide maintenance and servicing for the oil and gas sector, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced this evening. The company will also be creating at least 150 quality jobs in the next 18 months.

Dr Muscat was speaking at an event marking the conclusion of negotiations with Ablecare, which was chosen in January 2015 as the preferred bidder to develop the site after an international call for expressions of interest.

“Today we will leave shame to rest – the shame that such a prime site was left disused for ages. So much investment could have been attracted to this area over the years. The state of neglect that the site was left in cannot be justified,” Dr Muscat said.

Besides all the ancillary facilities, the project also includes a new academy for teaching trades in the maritime industry. “The jobs created by these activities will undoubtedly have positive effect on other services in the area.”

Dr Muscat said this would be another major investment in the south. He referred to the upcoming €115 million investment in the American University of Malta, an investment of €100 in a new hospital at Smart City and a new €3.5 million data centre at the same location, which was inaugurated last week.

“This is not just about creating jobs but also about giving people a better environment and quality of life. Air quality has improved greatly improved with closing of Marsa power station. The people of the south will also have the first natural park on this side of the island, at Zonqor.”

Dr Muscat said he was thankful for all the investment coming to Malta. “I am very proud that this proposal came from a Maltese company with international expertise. It shows that the government is not only open to business with foreign enterprises but also with local ones. My great hope is that project will rekindle trades and skills we are now lacking as an economy.”

Economy Minister Chris Cardona said Ablecare was the most attractive and most suited bidder for this project. “This project will strengthen our role as maritime centre of excellence in the middle of the Mediterranean. This sector is not a new one but one government believes has great potential. We have the facilities and skilled workforce.”

The company, he said, would play a vital role in the government’s vision for a maritime hub. “This site lay abandoned for decades. It is the largest industrial site that touches our shores. This government has proceeded in a manner that maximises its potential. This comes at a time of record economic growth, with investments in the aviation, manufacturing and IT sectors announced in the past few days. Many opportunities lost over the years but this ends today.”

Ablecare chairmen Paul Abela said the company’s initial €55 million investment was encouraged by the government to sustain a growing economy.  Much work has been carried out since the company was selected as the preferred bidder. Mr Abela said Ablecare had experienced “great fairness, transparency and cooperation” from the government.

Mediterranean Maritime Hub CEO Stephen Colville said the intense pressure for the sector to operate in a more effective and efficient manner presented Malta with a huge opportunity to become the premier operational support base for the oil and gas industry in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

“The Mediterranean Maritime Hub is a critical part of Malta’s ability to do this. And the hub site is fabulously well placed and well equipped. It already has all of the critical elements required by the industry: free zone status, extensive and spacious quaysides, vast external storage, tremendous office spaces and huge workshops and overhaul facilities. That already places the MMH in the front rank of oil and gas industry support bases. But what will really set it apart is how it will operate.”

Mr Colville said clients will be able to use the hub according to their individual and specific needs.

“It will work collaboratively with government and industry to jointly identify what is required now and in the future and ensure that it is provided. The hub will be Malta’s oil and gas industry champion, working with industry in its own right but also providing the leadership and centre of gravity around which other companies and organisations can develop and grow. It will be both an advocate and an example, helping the industry within the region to significantly increase efficiency and reduce costs while driving investment and employment in Malta.”

Ablecare Oilfield Services has 14 years of experience in the oil and gas field. The site will be a centre for oil rig maintenance, storage of heavy machinery and equipment as well as logistic support for the oil and gas exploration industry.

 

 

 

 

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