Norway’s Yara has quit its Libyan fertilizer business after 11 mostly turbulent years in the country, offloading its 50% stake in the Lifeco JV to National Oil Corporation (NOC) on the final day of 2020. NOC has framed the deal as a triumph for Libyan state control over its resources, but the reality is that an important foreign partner has felt unable to continue operating in a country crippled by years of chaos.

The deal brings NOC’s stake in the Lifeco plant at Marsa El Brega to 75%, with the remainder held by the state-owned Libyan Investment Authority. Although the plant was built to produce 850,000 t/y of urea and 120,000 t/y of ammonia, insufficient gas supplies and technical issues have meant output has been a fraction of nameplate capacity for years. Yara recent annual reports routinely complain that the security situation has prevented it from bringing foreign contractors to Libya. (CONTINUED - 238 WORDS)