From South Korea, Mitig urges Korean firms to resume work in Libya

In the past, Libya was picked as one of Korea’s main overseas construction markets for Korean builders after Saudi Arabia.

The government of Libya spurring the reconstruction of the country after the civil war requested Korean builders to resume construction work in Libya as soon as possible.

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Omar Maiteeq attended the Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference (GICC) held by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs at COEX InterContinental Hotel in Seoul on September 4.

“Libya will generate big reconstruction demand after the end of the civil war,” Maiteeq said. “If Korean companies return to Libya, they will receive strong support from the Libyan government such as securing safety and compensation for losses caused by their withdrawal from Libya due to the civil war.”

“Libya is currently expanding its financial capacity by increasing its crude oil production to one million barrels a day,” said the Libyan deputy prime minister. “We hope to resume the US$10 billion project with that we pushed forward with Korean companies. I request Korean companies to participate in additional projects in the future.”

In the past, Libya was picked as one of Korea’s main overseas construction markets for Korean builders after Saudi Arabia.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Daewoo Engineering & Construction, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, and others participated in the construction of infrastructure such as thermal power plants in areas such as Tripoli West, Sirte and Al Zwitina in northern Libya.

However, after safety concern was caused as Libya’s civil war intensified and Libya was designated as a travel-banned country, Korean companies suspended their work and left Libya in August 2014. It is estimated that a total of 47 projects worth US$10 billion were being carried out by Korean construction companies along with the Libyan government.

Libya has been divided into an Islamic government based in Tripoli and a non-Muslim government based in East Tobruk since the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi collapsed in 2011 with “the Arab Spring.”

The government of Libya begun to ask for help from the Korean government as the long civil war destroyed infrastructure, disrupting electricity production. In February, a Libyan government delegation, including the head of the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) visited Korea and met with officials of Korean construction companies.

At present, the uncertainty of politics and security in Libya is not removed yet so it is not possible to resume business soon. However, it is expected that the suspended projects will be resumed soon after a thawing mood was created between the two sides in Libya.

The Korean government is planning to determine whether or not to resume business based on review results produced by a joint public-private cooperation group. The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently blocking Koreans from travelling Libya by designating Libya as a non-travelable country, but is planning to support the projects by allowing construction workers to move to Libya as first step if safety is secured.

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