South Korean construction companies assess conditions for return to Libya

By Hadi Fornaji.

Serraj with South Korean delegation (Photo: PC media office)

Serraj with South Korean delegation (Photo: PC media office)

Tunis, 10 August 2017:

Representatives from three South Korean construction companies have been in Tripoli to assess whether conditions have sufficiently changed in the country to permit them to restart work on three power stations.

Hyundai and Doosan were building the 1400-MW Khaleej Power station at Sirte, work on which began in 2007. Daewoo was building the power station at Zueitina and Hyundai was expanding the Tripoli West station. The projects were said to be worth LD 4 billion. However, all pulled their workers out in mid-2014 because of security concerns.

Yesterday, the delegation, which was led by South Korean ambassador Kim Young-chae, separately met Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj and co-deputy PC head Ahmed Maetig, to discuss the possibility of construction work recommencing. With hours of power cuts every day effecting the whole country, increasing electricity production is one of the top priorities for the authorities, and both men strongly urged the Koreans to return.

However, although Ambassador Young-chae said that Korean companies would like  to go back, hopes of a quick return appear unrealistic. A Korean official told the Libya Herald today that there would be no solid undertaking to do so in the immediate future. The delegation’s visit to Tripoli was “just the beginning of the process”, he said. For the moment, the companies were checking out the security situation and seeing if the conditions were suitable to restart work.

Both yesterday’s meetings were also attended by the chairman of the state electricity company GECOL, Abdul Majeed Hamza, and its CEO, Ali Sassi. In February, Hamza was in the South Korean capital Seoul for talks with the three companies about returning to Libya.

Ahmed maetig with South Korean ambassador

Ahmed maetig with South Korean Ambassador Kim Young-chae and GECOL CEO Ali Sassi (Photo: Ahmed Maetig media office)

For the ambassador, it was the second visit to Tripoli this month. Currently based in Tunis, he was last in the capital a week ago for talks with GECOL, as well as with National Oil Corporation chairman Mustafa Sanalla and Central Bank of Libya (CBL) governor Saddek Elkaber.

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