Saudi to set up $10 bn oil refinery in Pak
ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia plans to set up a $10 billion oil refinery in Pakistan’s deep-water port of Gwadar, thus becoming a partner in the China-pakistan Economic Corridor.
“Saudi Arabia wants to make Pakistan’s economic development stable through establishing an oil refinery and partnership with Pakistan in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Saudi energy minister Khalid al-falih told reporters in Gwadar on Saturday.
He said Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will visit Pakistan in February to sign the agreement, adding that Saudi Arabia would also invest in other sectors.
“With setting up of an oil refinery in Gwadar, Saudi Arabia will become an important partner in CPEC,” Pakistan petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said.
The Saudi news agency SPA reported that Falih met the Pakistani petroleum minister and maritime affairs minister Ali Zaidi in Gwadar to discuss cooperation in refining, petrochemicals, mining and renewable energy.
It said Falih would finalise arrangements ahead of signing memoranda of understanding.
Since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power in August, Pakistan has secured economic assistance packages from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China.
In November, Pakistan extended talks with the International Monetary Fund as it seeks its 13th bailout since the late 1980s to deal with a looming balance of payments crisis. But over the weekend, finance minister Asad Umar informed businessmen that the government had decided not to enter an IMF programme for now. Umar said the government was exploring alternative options.
The prime minister’s office had said that Islamabad expected to sign investment agreements with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the coming weeks.
Pakistan wants to attract investment and other financial support to tackle a soaring current account deficit caused partly by rising oil prices. Last year, Saudi Arabia offered Pakistan a $6 billion package that included help to finance crude imports.