The Emirati firm ‘Mobadala’ has expressed interest in buying Morocco’s refinery, Samir, after a 3-year shutdown.
After an unsuccessful attempt by the Abu Dhabi-based Sovereign Fund to buy the only Moroccan refinery, Samir, last year, the Emirati firm ‘Mobadala’ that specializes petrochemical industries has begun the first round of negotiation to buy it.
The refinery was established in 1959 and was one of Morocco’s most important economic institutions prior to its shutdown in 2016 due to the inability of its Swedish-Saudi acquirer’s to pay its debts to the state and its suppliers that amount to 4 billion euros.
Efforts to bring the refinery back to life haven’t stop since then. Hossein Yamani, an official in the refiner’s union quoted in the Arabic-language news source Hespress says that their fight is not only about the workers but concerns Morocco’s sovereignty. He added that “the closure of the refinery threatens the country’s energy security.”
Morocco now imports all its needs of petroleum products. Its local supply has been catered for by independent suppliers, who according to a report by a parliamentary committee have made colossal returns, especially after state financial support was lifted in 2015.
The Moroccan court that looks into this legal situation has decided to extend the time limit 12 times for the Swedish-Saudi Coral Group to find another acquirer. According to local newspapers, if this conundrum continues, the refinery “will be sold piece by piece.”
Yamani explains that “30 Groups have expressed their interest in buying Samir” but to no avail. Morocco ‘s National Front has stated that the inability to overcome this situation is due to the “absence of a clear vision in regards to the future of the oil refinement industry in Morocco.”
Samir’s 800 hundred employees still earn a minimum wage until this moment and observers say that they are under the threat of unemployment if this situation remains as it is.