LNG Plant is a shared Government Responsibility
The Government simply cannot avoid responsibility for the power cut last night which was attributed by them to an issue with the LNG Plant. While the Government has said that it reserves all their rights against Shell, by doing so they are ignoring the fact that the LNG Plant is a joint venture between Shell (51%) and the Government (49%) via Shell LNG Gibraltar Limited..
Roy Clinton MP the GSD Shadow Minster for Public Finance stated the following:
“The LNG regasification plant was a critical piece of the GSLP’s flagship multi-million power station project at the North Mole. In his budget address of 2016 the Chief Minister announced the LNG Plant would be jointly owned by Shell and the Government with the Government having the ability to purchase the plant at the end of the 20 year contract for a nominal sum.
In tweets last night the Chief Minister stated that the operation of the LNG Plant was contracted to GASNOR AS, a Shell subsidiary. Shell however has disclosed that it divested itself of GASNOR AS in 2021 and Reuters reported on 8 April 2021 that GASNOR AS had been bought by Madrid-based Molgas Energy Holding.
The Government’s 49% interest in Shell LNG Gibraltar Limited is held by Credit Finance Company Limited (owned by the Gibraltar Development Corporation) which has provided £20.5 million in equity and loans at 31 December 2021. This money is being indirectly provided by the Gibraltar Savings Bank having bought debentures issued by Credit Finance. Shell LNG Gibraltar Limited is reported by Credit Finance to have made a profit of £2 million in 2021 and of Shell LNG Gibraltar’s two directors one is recorded by Companies House as still being the former Financial Secretary.
Instead of conveniently pointing the finger at Shell, the Government needs to seek answers from the board of Shell LNG Gibraltar Limited for which it is part owner and ask simply was the LNG supply failure attributable to the operator GASNOR AS or is there an inherent flaw in the construction and design of the LNG Plant?”
New Football Stadium: Govt Unaware of Key Financial Information
Even though the Government agreed to commit substantial savers monies towards the £100M new Victoria Stadium project it has not seen a copy of the financial feasibility report which underpins the viability of the project. Nor was it aware of the costs of a 5000 or 8000-seater stadium when it took its decision and has not had any discussions with the GFA as to whether UEFA rules would allow the building of a smaller stadium. Additionally, the Minister for the Savings Bank, Sir Joe Bossano, confirmed he has had no role in approving the residential or commercial configuration of the new stadium project which again is key to whether the scheme is profitable.
This new and emerging information is quite staggering given the fanfare with which the Government announced their decision to commit savers funds to this massive project and their duty to ensure the scheme that they have committed savers monies to works.
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “This project was announced with huge fanfare in November. The Government has been assuring the public that the project is a good investment and financially viable but on what basis can they say so if they haven’t even seen a copy of the financial feasibility report? It’s obvious from the last parliamentary session that the Government is unsighted on the detail and worse still is unwilling to involve itself in the detail even though they have been prepared to make a massive financial commitment. This is absolutely unbelievable and shows that the approach to investment though the so-called National Economic Plan is not only opaque but without any great planning. That the Government is willing to enter into these big commitments without first seeing the relevant financial due diligence itself which affects whether the project would be a success is staggering. This is quite basic. If he didn’t see the financial feasibility report how was he in a position to take this decision? It appears to have been taken without sight by the Government of key financial reports.
It appears simply that the Government decided that this announcement would play out well in electoral terms. It was a cheap electioneering stunt with glossy pictures and videos in overdrive but without any great financial planning. This was a short-term electoral approach which was reckless with necessary due diligence. The least you would have expected is for the Government to ensure that it takes decisions having first looked at and collated all information.”
The Government’s statement that the Rooke site “will eventually replace Mount Alvernia” requires further explanation.
Minister Bossano, who made the statement to the Chronicle, needs to explain how that stated intention sits with the impression he has given before that Mount Alvernia will not be closed.
The Government should therefore (i) confirm and explain in greater detail what its plans are in respect of Mount Alvernia, to include, if it will close what it intends to do with the building; (ii) state whether new residents will be admitted into Mount Alvernia; (iii) confirm that the current financial arrangements that apply to Gibraltar residents who use residential facilities of this nature will continue to apply and if not how they will change; (iv) who will fall under the category of people who the Government states will pay for the facilities privately and what will such people be charged; and (v) state which entity will operate the home.
“These are important issues which the Government has failed to properly air in public and are causing concern among citizens.” said GSD MP Damon Bossino.