Heap of scrap metal, financial abyss, economic fiasco, embezzled millions, disastrous strategic choice… Hardly the CEO of Sonatrach, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, announced in December 2018 the acquisition, from the American ExxonMobil, of the refinery Augusta oil project in southern Italy, that the project is doomed to failure and its promoter pilloried.
The critiques, the reproaches as well as the suspicions of the media, experts and other specialists become final sentences when justice decides to open an investigation into “the ins and outs of this case”. The cause is heard, especially when Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour is extradited from the United Arab Emirates in August 2021, imprisoned in Koléa prison and prosecuted on various charges, in particular in connection with this acquisition.
Algeria: the true story of the extradition of Ould Kaddour, the former CEO of Sonatrach
However, while the case is still under investigation in the Algiers court, the refinery’s first six months of activity in 2022 show profits of more than $450 million. “Sonatrach could earn more than 800 million dollars in profits [sur cette raffinerie] this year, says a source close to this file. It’s far from a scam. Quite the contrary. »
Difficult economic situation
How did this project, presented as strategic, turn into a scandal, to the point that the Presidency of the Republic summoned, in an instruction dated June 8, 2020, the national gendarmerie to open “in an emergency and under the seal of confidentiality “, a judicial inquiry into this refinery?
Appointed at the head of Sonatrach in March 2017, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour is developing the “SH 2030” strategy which aims to raise the Algerian oil group, already first in Africa, among the five major oil companies. au monde.