Iraq backtracks on Moroccan oil refinery deal: newspaper

Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi talks to journalists during a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Baghdad ( Iraq has retracted on buying Morocco’s only oil refinery, citing a non-encouraging technical report on the project, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

London-based The New Arab newspaper, quoting “informed sources” said Iraqi pulled back on a deal to take over Morocco’s SAMIR refinery, saying that the commercial court in Casa Blanca gave the receiver three more months to sell the group managing the refinery, explaining that this was the eighth time a moratorium was given for the measure.

It added that BP Energy and another European firm were still willing to make an offer for the refinery after Iraq’s withdrawal which the newspaper, quoting official Iraqi sources, attributed to a “non-encouraging technical assessment that highlighted the halt in the refinery’s operations since 2015.
Morocco’s authorities condition, for SAMIR’s sale, the reactivation of the refinery and maintaining the employment of 825 workers. The government sets a price of USD2.6 billion for the sale.

SAMIR has been under judicial receivership after its debts stood at USD4.3 billion.
Saudi Coral Petroleum had bought the group as part of a privatization scheme for USD450 million.

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