Malta – the “Aberdeen of the Mediterranean”
Aberdeen is commonly regarded as the European centre for Oil and Gas activities; a reputation built over many years of servicing the offshore North Sea and Norwegian markets. Over the years an extensive network of oilfield support services, engineering services and Oil and Gas logistics specialists have flourished.
Today, as North Sea exploration and production activity declines, the centre of activity is shifting to other areas of Oil and Gas activity. Several forward-thinking companies have embraced the geographic migration and established satellite centres and Oil and Gas Support Bases to service these new emerging opportunities, some of which are in the Mediterranean.
One such country looking to take advantage of this opportunity is Malta. A full member of the EU situated in the central Mediterranean, it is in within easy reach of the extensive hydrocarbon deposits offshore North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. Malta is close to Libya, Algeria and Egypt – all of which have extensive hydrocarbon reserves. Malta’s geographical position - situated on the main shipping lanes crossing the Mediterranean - and with excellent European and Middle East flight connections, is within easy reach of European and north African business centres, making it an ideal location for an oil and gas support base in the Mediterranean.Indeed, Malta is currently experiencing an influx of North Sea based oilfield support service companies setting up branches and working with local companies such as Medserv Energy to provide oilfield services to Libyan, Italian and Mediterranean clients.
Attracted by the geographic location, the Free zone status of support bases and direct flights to/from Aberdeen, companies are focusing on setting up OCTG inspection, storage and certification facilities; riser inspection and repair capabilities; supply base operations (logistics specialists); fabric maintenance and associated remedial engineering work.
Malta’s long history as a marine centre with large deep-water harbours, has been extended in recent years with the additional of aeronautical engineering services and IT and Internet businesses software growth. As a result, there is an abundance of quality engineering companies that can undertake oilfield support services. The local workforce is flexible, well trained, and motivated in country where English is the one of the official languages.
The success of the recent large gas finds in the east Mediterranean plus the return of Libya to political stability combine to expect that Malta will continue to grow as an Oil and Gas support services location and become the ‘Aberdeen of the Mediterranean’.