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Malta-Sicily cable tender cancelled

Interconnector crucial cog in energy plans

Enemalta has cancelled the tender for the electricity interconnector between Malta and Sicily, saying the sole bidder, ABB Consortium, was "administratively non compliant" with tender conditions.

The national energy provider did not say what the shortcomings were and when asked to specify, a spokesman simply said the bidder "did not respect all the administrative conditions requested in the tender document".

According to the spokesman, Enemalta reached its conclusion after the evaluation committee analysed the tender submitted by the bidder and compared it with the published tender conditions.

The company said it had now received permission from the Contracts Department to start direct negotiations with the four companies that had been short-listed after a call for expressions of interest was issued last December. Only one of these submitted a tender when the call expired on July 13.

Enemalta said the tender conditions would be reviewed after consultation with the economic operators before moving into the final phase of the process where bidders would be asked to submit a best and final offer.

The spokesman said that since the closing date of the tender Enemalta had no contact with the shortlisted bidders.

The multi-million euro project is targeted for completion by end 2012, through which, for the first time in the country's history, Malta would have an electricity source from mainland Europe.

The interconnector is a crucial cog in the government's energy plans since without it, the aging Marsa power station cannot be closed down. According to Enemalta, any delay in the project could lead to a loss of European funding.

The spokesman said the cancellation of the tender was "not expected to affect the effective completion of this project".

The link is expected to deliver up to 225 megawatts of electricity and is cost about €150 million. The cable landing sites will be situated on the Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq to Pembroke coast in Malta and at Marina di Ragusa in Sicily. The cable is expected to have a sub-sea route length of 95 kilometres and will be laid in sea depths of not more than 160 metres.

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