Yara International ASA, the National Oil Corporation of Libya (NOC) and Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) have signed the final agreements to create a fertiliser joint venture (JV) aptly named, Libyan Norwegian Fertiliser Company (Lifeco).

NOC will supply natural gas to Lifeco under a long-term agreement with a gas price linked to fertiliser product prices.

Yara will handle all urea and ammonia exports from Lifeco. The existing operations produce approximately 900,000 tonnes of urea and 150,000 tonnes of merchant ammonia per year.

$quot;We are delighted with reaching this milestone. With our commitment to the growth and expansion of Lifeco, the acquisition will be of great benefit to Yara, LIA and NOC. Lifeco complements Yara's global commercial activities and provides new investment in Libya as part of Yara's core business,$quot; said Jørgen Ole Haslestad, President and CEO of Yara International ASA.

Lifeco is jointly set up by NOC, LIA and Yara to own and operate the fertilizer facilities located at Marsa El Brega at the Mediterranean coast, some 700 km east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, with approximately 1,200 employees.

A second phase will aim to invest in new world scale production facilities as and when new natural gas resources are made available, subject to economic evaluations.

Meanwhile, Yara has revealed that it has decided to restart production of urea and ammonia at its site in Ferrara, Italy.

The company has started preparations to restart Yara Ferrara, following improved market conditions. Start up of the urea and ammonia plants is expected during February.

The Ferrara facility transforms natural gas into ammonia and urea, which are the main components in the production of nitrogen fertilizers and chemicals.