November 16, 2017 / 5:10 PM / a year ago

Evacuation of foreign workers halts building of Libyan power plant

BENGHAZI, Libya, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The evacuation of employees of a Turkish company from southern Libya after four of their colleagues were kidnapped has stalled work to complete a power station in the city of Ubari, local engineers said on Thursday.

Extra electricity supply is badly needed in Libya, where there have been frequent power cuts in recent years because of rising demand and the degradation of infrastructure linked to political and economic turmoil in the oil-rich nation.

A group of workers from Turkish construction firm Enka were flown out of the area on Wednesday, according to the engineers, who did not want to be named because of security concerns.

A first batch of workers contracted by German firm Siemens had left the area on an earlier date, the engineers said.

Three Turks and one South African working at the plant were abducted while travelling by road from Ubari airport on Nov. 3. It is not clear who carried out the kidnapping.

Before the evacuation of the workers, the 600MW plant had been due for completion at the end of the year.

A delay in completion of the Ubari plant would defer the diversion of oil from Libya’s giant Sharara field to power it.

The plant was due to initially consume 30,000 bpd of crude oil, before ramping up to around 50,000 bpd, according to a Libyan oil source.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Mark Heinrich

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