Times of Malta 19/01/2014: The continental shelf is the largest and most valuable asset held by Malta. Its area is more than three times the size of Sicily and includes hydrocarbon and other mineral resources worth several billion euros.
Despite rising oil prices, Malta’s unsuccessful oil exploration
programme is characterised by decades of inactivity and several oil
exploration licences that remain undrilled. Only 12 deep wells were
drilled in 60 years, the lowest density of wells in the Central
Inexplicably, Malta remains the only European country without a
national geological service that can assess and develop mineral
resources in its vast shelf area.
The 20 per cent probability of success claimed by the oil company
that will shortly drill a well south of Malta is relatively low when
considering that highly successful 3D seismics were used. This reflects a
lack of geological research, aggravated by official secrecy on oil
exploration data that keep Malta a high-risk, oil-exploration area.
Malta’s continental shelf jurisdiction is the legacy of British
colonial seabed surveys and the fathers of Maltese statehood. In 1966,
prime minister George Borg Olivier enacted the Continental Shelf Act
which decreed equidistant maritime boundaries. Later, prime minister Dom
Mintoff embarked on an ambitious oil exploration programme. When the
Medina Bank became...read on.