Malta has no geological survey - geologist
Malta is the only EU country without a geological survey, meaning oil exploration is often done without much data at hand, a top geologist said today.
Peter Gatt explained how the lack of a national institution promoting geological research was holding back local oil exploration ventures.
“Companies see Malta as a high-risk area, which is one reason we haven’t had that much drilling over the years. Malta has a large geological platform and very large continental shelf. We need to take geological research more seriously,” he said.
Dr Gatt was presenting the findings of his study into the geological composition of the Maltese platform, which Malta Council of Science and Technology chairman Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said was “a breakthrough for Maltese science.” MCST supported Dr Gatt’s research.
The findings show clear effects of climate change on Maltese rock, with wetter weather in North Africa leading to a nutrient-enriched Mediterranean sea, with subsequent effects on local rock composition.
Dr Gatt’s seismic studies of the rock composition of parts of Malta’s ocean floor begin to fill some of the gaps in knowledge of Maltese geology.
Aside from the possibility of the data being used to create better-quality aggregate for construction, more such data was needed to increase the probability of oil discovery, Dr Gatt said.
Dr Pullicino Orlando agreed, saying that it appeared oil exploration strategies to date “might have been going about things the wrong way”.
“MCST feels it is very important for us to have some form of geological unit to research local geology and make Malta more attractive to oil companies.”
Dr Pullicino Orlando also reiterated MCST’s push for research into renewable energy, saying the council was currently backing research into the use of offshore solar panels.