The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ablecare Oilfield Services to turn Marsa Shipbuilding into an oil and gas logistics centre.

Ablecare had been announced preferred bidder at the beginning of the year following an international call for expressions of interest.

Since then, the project has had to be assessed by various ministries and entities ranging from Transport Malta to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority. Other operators using the site on encroachment also had to be evicted before the MOU could be signed.

Ablecare has already invested €500,000 on dredging tests to ensure that the site can be used for its planned purposes. Negotiations will now start on the conditions of the concession and once this has been given parliamentary approval, work will be able to start immediately. The company is expected to invest €55 million in the project.

Economy Minister Chris Cardona said the project would attract considerable investment and create numerous jobs in this sector especially since the project as envisaged would be unique in the region.

Ablecare chairman Paul Abela said the project had already been showcased in various international forums and had already attracted substantial interest.

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