ENERGY & GEORESOURCES
Malta has a number of natural resources.
Limestone: a geomaterial that has been used since prehistory for construction and now extracted for crushed aggregate production with application to concrete and asphalt.
Clay and phosphate: no commercial use till now
Hydrocarbons: no commercial quantities have been discovered.
Hydrogen gas: no discoveries
Mc Kelvey diagram of Natural Resources of Malta
Malta is one of the three European countries most dependent on fossil fuels for its energy needs: Cyprus (discovered gas field), Malta and Poland (includes coal).
Since no hydrocarbons were discovered in Malta, all hydrocarbons must be imported.
Visits the Chamber's Discussion paper on the role of hydrocarbons: Geology for Energy in Malta
The Maltese continental shelf is the largest and most valuable asset held by the Republic of Malta. It covers an area of 70,000 km2 and is estimated to be worth billions of euro in value. Exploration for hydrocarbons over the past 65 years resulted in 13 wells and several kilometres of seismic lines. All 13 wells are not producing. From 1980, 19 licences have been awarded: 10 exploration licences under Exploration Study Agreements and 9 exploration/production licences under Production Sharing Contracts.
Map showing location of oil wells and continental shelf claims
Hydrogen gas is the future of carbon-free economies. Presently, hydrogen gas is produced from methane gas which is a hydrocarbon. The future lies in drilling for subsurface hydrogen. Subsurface hydrogen is already fuelling small communities in experimental cases in West Africa.
Read more: Subsurface Hydrogen
Within a European context, the Maltese quarrying industry represents a special case of problems. The Islands’ size is a mere 316 km2, where stone quarries presently supply the local burgeoning construction industry with quarry products. The major constraints for quarrying are the lack of territory and the limited rock resources which constrain this industry from expanding to its full potential. This is aggravated by an insularity which has retarded modernisation and restructuring within the context of global competition. The environmental impacts of quarrying are also more readily perceived in a very densely populated country like Malta.