The plant was previously operated by Dong Ah Construction Industrial Company, the South Korean firm that was GMR’s prime contractor. Dong Ah ran into financial troubles last year. SNC Lavalin executive vice-president Sami Bebawi is not concerned by the plant’s recent period of inactivity. ‘The factory was well maintained by Dong Ah and we do not expect to encounter any problems in bringing it into operation once more,’ he told MEED on 4 April.

Under the terms of the contract, SNC Lavalin will assume operation of the plant for a 20-month period starting in June 2002. The company will renovate the facility and employ 1,400-1,600 staff to produce 15,000 pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipes (PCCPs) to be used in the repair and expansion of GMR. The Libyan government will cover all costs of the renovation.

Last August, SNC was awarded a $58 million contract to carry out vital maintenance work on phase 1 of GMR. The repairs are needed, as corrosion has reduced by 85 per cent the efficiency of the 1,500-kilometre pipeline running from the Tazerbo and Sarir wellfields (MEED 24:8:01).

The 7.5-metre-long pipes will also be used in the construction of phase 3 of the water conveyance scheme, which will add almost 1.7 million cubic metres a day to the network’s total capacity (MEED 13:7:01, Cover Story).

The Brega pipeline plant near Ajdabiya, which has also produced pipes for GMR, is not operating at the moment either. It is thought unlikely that the plant will be left idle for long.