The plan of the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, for the economic and social recovery included a kind of green light to proceed with the project of the “Augusta” refinery in Sicily (Italy), which was acquired by Sonatrach at the end of 2018, after the President’s economic roadmap ordered a total halt of fuel imports by the first quarter of next year.
In the context, in the final text of the cabinet statement held last Sunday, orders from President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to completely halt fuel imports of all kinds by the first quarter of next year, came in the framework of reducing hard currency depletion and ensuring a rationalization of expenditures.
It is understood from this procedure that the national potentialities of refining through oil refineries will be able to meet the national demand for fuel (diesel and gasoline), which is approximately 20 million tons annually, through the refineries of the capital Algiers, Skikda, Arzew, Hassi Messaoud and Adrar, especially after the return of production at the Algeria refinery in Sidi Razan, in addition to the Augusta refinery in Italy, which has an annual production capacity of 10 million tons of refined materials.
One of the directives of the President’s economic and social recovery plan, the authorities are also counting on the production of the Italian refinery, Augusta, in Sicily, if only partially. Reselling or dismantling it, is a more sophisticated process, according to observers.
In front of Sonatrach and the authorities, there are two solutions in this facility to be in a state of activity. The first is to continue the operations of refining the Saudi crude that is suitable for the equipment provided by the refinery, which the American company “Exxon Mobil”, the previous owner of the facility, would buy from Saudi Aramco, and here would be Sonatrach in connection with a pure business process, and this option requires materializing it in less time, and it could be an additional source of income for “Sonatrach” by exploiting the distribution network and former clients of “Exxon Mobil”.
The second solution is to refine the Algerian light crude, “Sahara Blend” in this facility, but the process requires time and money, given that the refinery has equipment suitable for refining the Algerian non-crude and therefore must be replaced before it is compatible with the Algerian crude oil refining operations.