Issue Date: February 28, 2011
Mideast Unrest Leads To Plant Shutdowns
As Libya heads toward civil war, owners of chemical and oil operations in the country have taken steps to safeguard employees and assets. Norway-based Yara says that its fertilizer joint-venture complex at Marsa El Brega, about 400 miles east of Tripoli, has been temporarily shut down. Yara has a 50% stake in the venture, which employs 1,200 and produces 900,000 metric tons of urea per year and 700,000 tons of ammonia. Libyan government entities own the balance. Oil companies operating in the energy-rich nation—including Eni, Total, BASF’s Wintershall unit, and OMV—have also reduced output and started to shut down. In nearby Egypt, where civil unrest led to the exile of President Hosni Mubarak, Methanex says it has shut down operations in Damietta, closed its office in Cairo, and evacuated international staff and their families. The 1.3 millon-ton methanol plant at Damietta just started up in January.
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