The independent trustee managing the Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l’Industrie du Raffinage (Samir) in Morocco plans to invite buyers’ expressions of interest in the next few weeks.

Offers must involve restarting production at Morocco’s only refinery, Mohamed El-Krimi told Reuters.

A Moroccan bankruptcy court is currently assessing Samir’s assets.

El-Krimi is attempting to restart the refinery before 21 December, but has struggled to secure shipments of crude oil, according to Reuters.

Samir owes oil traders, banks and the Moroccan tax authorities around MD44bn ($4.6bn), after it failed to hedge against the decline in oil prices in 2015. It is still paying workers’ salaries despite the refinery being inactive for over a year.

The permanent closure of the 150,000 barrel a day Mohammedia refinery would leave Morocco totally reliant on imported fuel.

Saudi Arabia’s Corral Petroleum owns 67.3 per cent of Samir, which is listed on the Casablanca Bourse.