Saudi to set up $10 bn oil re­fin­ery in Pak

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - LET’STALKABOUT # - Im­tiaz Ah­mad let­[email protected]­dus­tantiems.com

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.

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