October 12, 2016 / 5:12 PM / in 9 months

Glencore hopes for Moroccan refinery restart to recoup money

The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Baar November 20, 2012.Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Glencore (GLEN.L), one of the main creditors of Morocco's sole refinery, still has hopes the idled plant will restart so lenders can gradually recoup their money, despite repeated failures to get it up and running.

Glencore's global head of oil, Alex Beard, told the Reuters Commodities Summit that those involved in the court-ordered liquidation of refiner Samir (SAMI.CS) were working towards restarting the Mohammedia refinery.

"The liquidator in Morocco ... has taken the view that the refinery needs to run," Beard said.

"He's talking to a variety of people, he's talking to a variety of creditors, traders, third-party market participants, to look at ways of the refinery running."

Attempts to reach the liquidator, Mohamed el Krimi, for comment on Wednesday, were unsuccessful.

Several large oil companies and trading houses, including Glencore, are owed close to $1 billion by Samir (Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie du Raffinage) as payment for the supply of crude and other products.

The 200,000 barrel per day plant halted operations in August last year due to financial difficulties, then a court ruling placed it in liquidation and named an independent trustee.

Samir's largest shareholder, Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi's Corral Holdings [CORRF.UL], fell out with the government, which says Samir owes it $1.3 billion in tax.

Samir's owners have been trying to restart the refinery while the restructuring process is underway but repeated attempts have failed.

The complex is the only refinery in Morocco and is also one of the most complex in Africa.

"I'm not saying that is going to be easy, nor is there a pathway to that at the moment," Beard said, adding "for a recovery of some value, it's pretty clear the refinery needs to restart."

According to Samir filings, it owes Glencore just over $200 million.

Editing by David Clarke

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