NOC resumes gas supply to LifeCo after 6-month operation halt

The state-run National Oil Corporation restored natural gas supply to the Libyan Norwegian Fertilizer Company (LifeCo), allowing factory operations to resume shortly after almost six months of operation halt, according to a Saturday statement.

“LifeCo shareholders have agreed on a number of measures to restore operational continuity and protect jobs, including the restoration of gas supply and NOC assuming control of the marketing of ammonia and urea fertilizer products,” the NOC said in the statement.

The agreement came after a meeting under the auspices of NOC Chairperson Mustafa Sannalla, which included representatives of LifeCo shareholders, the Libyan Investment Authority and Norway’s Yara International to discuss the challenges faced by LifeCo.

Yara International, a global firm specialized in the production of nitrogen fertilizer, rejected a few months ago an offer made by its affiliated firm, Lifeco, to settle the former’s commercial dispute with NOC.

The offer suggested that Yara would pay $10 million to the NOC as a part of the Libyan corporation’s accumulated dues, and the latter would, in return, supply LifeCo with gas.

In January, the NOC suspended the supply of natural gas to LifeCo, pending settlement of its unpaid debts.

NOC’s dues amounted to $80 million, besides more €31 million ($34.8) owed to Sirte Oil Company.

LifeCo was established in 2009 during the Qaddafi regime as a joint venture, with Yara holding 50 percent stake and both NOC and the Libyan Investment Authority each has a 25 percent stake, to develop NOC’s Marsa el-Brega fertilizer assets, valued at $225 million at the time.

Yara has already been fined $48 million for the bribery of government officials and seen a number of its staff, including Yara’s top legal advisor, found guilty of corruption and sentenced to imprisonment by a Norwegian court.

Investigations into these incidents of illegality, conducted by the Norwegian and Swiss authorities, are being examined in collaboration with the office of the Libyan public prosecutor.

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