Yara unsure when Lifeco will restart after Libyan militia blockade

12 February 2014 11:22  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Yara International on Wednesday said it remains unclear when Libyan joint venture Lifeco will restart ammonia and urea production after a local militia blocked the site last month.

The Norwegian company confirmed the plant at Marsa el Brega, which is partly owned by National Oil Corporation of Libya (NOC) and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), was taken offline in early 2014 due to a lack of site access.

"A controlled shutdown was carried out in early January due to a local militia blocking the site," the majority shareholder noted in its fourth quarter results.

"Yara is currently evaluating the situation, but at this stage it is not clear when Lifeco production can resume."

The Oslo-headquartered fertilizer giant added its investment in Lifeco has a carrying value of Norwegian kroner (NKr) 1.017bn (€121.8m) and has been tested for impairment.

"The key uncertainties when performing the testing are the political stability in the area and the availability of gas and utilities," the firm stated.

In mid-January, sources at Yara said the Lifeco plant – which suffered power and utility supply issues throughout 2013 that hurt output – had been shut down due to local civil unrest and all foreign workers sent home.

LPG tanker Pertusola loaded a 10,000-tonne ammonia cargo on 7 January for discharge in Norway for Yara's own systems, but no other ammonia exports have been heard since.

Located about 700km east of the capital Tripoli, Lifeco has a combined annual capacity of 900,000 tonnes of urea and 150,000 tonnes of merchant ammonia.

According to Yara's website, the facility employed around 1,200 people when the joint venture agreement with LIA and NOC – who both hold a 25% stake – was signed in February 2009.

(€1 = NKr8.35)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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