Pakistan cabinet approves summary of multi-billion dollar Saudi oil refinery deal

Saudi Arabia has agreed in principle to invest in a new state-of-the-art oil refinery in Pakistan, it was announced Thursday. (Shutterstock/photo)
Updated 04 October 2018
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Pakistan cabinet approves summary of multi-billion dollar Saudi oil refinery deal

  • After Saudi multi-billion dollar investment in Pakistan, the has also shown interest to invest in an oil refinery, says Petroleum Minister
  • The governments of Pakistan and KSA are set to formally sign the deal by early November

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has agreed in principle to invest in a new state-of-the-art oil refinery in Pakistan, it was announced Thursday. The governments of both countries will reportedly sign a formal agreement by the end of this month or early in November.

“It is good news for Pakistanis that Saudi Arabia is going to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan’s oil and gas sector,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said while addressing a press conference along with the Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
“Saudi Arabia has declared its interest in immediately investing in a new oil refinery in Pakistan, and our cabinet today approved a summary for it,” Khan said.
In what would essentially be a government-to-government agreement, Khan said that state-owned Pakistan State Oil (PSO) will partner with Saudi state oil giant Aramco for the project.
“The Saudi energy minister will visit Pakistan by the end of this month or the beginning of next month to sign a memorandum of understanding for the refinery,” Khan announced.
The minister said that the refinery will be established in Gwadar, a deep-sea port in Baluchistan province, and details related to its cost and capacity have yet to be finalized.
A Saudi delegation led by Adviser on Energy Ahmad Hamed Al-Ghamdi is currently visiting Pakistan to explore different areas for investment.
The petroleum minister said that Pakistan has offered at least more four projects to Saudi Arabia for investment, including two multipurpose pipelines and exploration of oil and gas reserves in the country.
“We have asked Saudi Arabia to invest in the drilling sector too, because they have rich experience of it,” he said, adding that further talks on that matter would be held with Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.
Khan said that his government has also invited the United Arab Emirates to invest in Pakistan and claimed that the Emirates have also shown interest in investing in an oil refinery.
“We need at least four to five new oil refineries in our country to fulfill our demand,” he said, adding that Pakistan is ready to welcome other countries’ investments, including Russia and China.
The minister said that he has not talked to the visiting Saudi delegation about acquisition of petroleum products from the Kingdom on deferred payment.
“The Saudis have welcomed all our suggestions,” he said. “They have even said that if Pakistan moves one step, they are willing to take two steps.”
He also dispelled the impression of any Chinese concern over Saudi investment in Pakistan. “There is no truth in this news,” he said.
The development regarding Saudi investment in the oil refinery in Pakistan comes weeks after a maiden visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia where he held talks with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, among others.
“Prime Minister was accorded a warm welcome in Saudi Arabia,” Petroleum Minister said, “Saudis had shown a keen interest in investment in Pakistan during the high-level meetings there.”


Pakistan reopens Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan

Updated 21 October 2018
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Pakistan reopens Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan

  • Islamabad closed border crossings with Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government
  • Afghanistan held its third parliamentary elections since 2001 on Saturday

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reopened its Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan on Sunday, state media reported.
Islamabad had closed two main border crossings —  Chaman and Torkham — with Afghanistan on Friday for two days, at the request of the Afghan government.
“The decision has been taken to support Afghanistan in the smooth conduct of the upcoming Parliamentary elections in the country,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
On Saturday, Afghanistan held it third parliamentary elections since 2001. 
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on the phone on Friday and said, “These elections are an important landmark for the strengthening of democracy in the country, which remains the key to achieving sustainable peace and progress in Afghanistan.”