Yara says Libyan fertilizer plant suffering power, utility issues

12 February 2013 12:10  [Source: ICIS news]

Yara LONDON (ICIS)--Urea production rates at Libyan Norwegian Fertilizer Company (Lifeco) have improved since last year but plant operations continue to be impacted by power and utility supply issues, co-owner Yara International revealed on Tuesday.

The Marsa el Brega, Libya-based plant can produce a combined 900,000 tonnes/year of prilled urea from its two units, with a coastal facility also able to manufacture up to 700,000 tonnes/year of ammonia – a key urea feedstock.

Following the recent civil war, plant operations were suspended between February 2011 and September 2012. Since the restart, output rates remain below maximum levels due to problems related to support infrastructure such as power networks and desalination plants.

"The supply of power and utilities to the site is not yet stable, and Lifeco capacity utilisation is likely to be impacted in the short term," Yara noted in a report detailing its fourth-quarter results.

"The ammonia production ran during parts of fourth quarter at reduced rates," the Oslo-based company continued. "The urea lines started in January 2013 as the supporting infrastructure was not fully running during the fourth quarter. The plant's insurance policy does not cover damage caused by war, civil war, revolution or terrorism. Yara's share of Lifeco's negative result for 2012 is Norwegian kroner (NKr) 196m (€26.6m, $35.6m)."

Established in February 2009, Lifeco employs around 1,200 people and the Marsa el Brega plant is situated around 700km east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Yara, whose investment in Lifeco totals NKr1.15bn, handles the sale of prilled urea and surplus ammonia from the plant, with the majority of those exports sold to Europe and Africa.

($1 = €0.75, $1 = NKr5.51, €1 = NKr7.38)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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