Rabat - The Commercial Court of Morocco placed the kingdom’s only oil refinery, SAMIR, into liquidation on Monday and named an independent trustee, according to Reuters.
Rabat – The Commercial Court of Morocco placed the kingdom’s only oil refinery, SAMIR, into liquidation on Monday and named an independent trustee, according to Reuters.
SAMIR, which is two-thirds owned by the Saudi company Corral Petroleum Holdings, can lodge an appeal against the decision made by the Casablanca-based court within the next 10 days, according to local commercial laws.
Last August, the refinery announced a halt in production due to “financial constraints.” The facility – located in Mohammedia – produced 200,000 barrels per day before production stopped.
Morocco’s tax administration froze the company’s bank accounts and seized the company’s assets in pursuit of a MAD 13 billion tax claim. According to the Moroccan government, SAMIR owes approximately MAD 44 billion to a series of banks and creditors.
Last Friday, the company said it expected to report deep losses in 2015 due to the production halt and the frozen state of its financial assets. The company source also clarified that the refinery’s 1,200 workers are still receiving salaries and benefits.
Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi owns Corral Holdings, which controls 67.26 percent of SAMIR. Talks between Al Amoudi and the government failed to find a solution.
Jamaal Baamer, the company’s general manager, said during a hearing on March 7th that, if allowed by the court, the company had the ability to become functional again. He said that Al-Amoudi had agreed to contribute MAD 4 billion during 2016 to help the refinery restart production.
SAMIR’s closure would make Morocco increasingly reliant on imports. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that the kingdom’s petroleum consumption is just under 300,000 barrels per day, making it Africa’s fifth highest energy consumer.