Saudi energy minister to visit Gwadar for oil refinery prospects

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market at the CERAWeek energy summit. (AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019
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Saudi energy minister to visit Gwadar for oil refinery prospects

  • Will be in Islamabad on Saturday to analyze development of the port city, Petroleum Minister says
  • Expected to hold talks with the chief minister and a coterie of other top officials

KARACHI: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and the Chairman of the Board of Saudi Aramco will be visiting Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar on Saturday, officials said on Friday.
“Saudi energy minister, Khalid A. Al-Falih, is coming tomorrow to witness the development of Gwadar. The area allocated to them for oil refinery, he is coming to see that,” Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Minister for Petroleum and National Resources, said on Friday while addressing the media in the provincial capital, Quetta. 
Khan said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is expected to be signed next month.
“The federal cabinet has already given its approval for the signing of the MoU. After signing the MoU, the foundation stone for the construction of the refinery would be laid in Gwadar,” he added.
“The Saudi energy minister is visiting Gwadar and will hold meetings with Pakistani ministers and Chief Minister of Balochistan,” Haroon Sharif, Minister of State and Chairman of Pakistan Board of Investment (BoI), told Arab News on Friday.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to construct the multibillion dollar oil refinery in Gwadar, located in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, for which the MoU is expected to be signed next month in the presence of a high-level Saudi delegation.
Pakistani officials said that they have finalized the MoU for the construction of refinery. “Overall directions have been agreed upon and the agreement will be signed at the ‘appropriate time’”, BoI chief told Arab News recently.
However, he dismissed reports that the MoU would be signed during Al-Falih’s visit on Saturday.
Saudi Aramco will construct the petrochemical complex which will house the multibillion oil refinery. “I am expecting around $15 billion investment from Saudi Arabia in the next three years. The inflow of investments for the oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Pakistan is estimated to be between $6 billion to $10 billion,” Sharif said.
Pakistan is hoping to attract more than $40 billion foreign direct investment in the next five years. “We estimate that roughly around $40 billion investment will be made by these three countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and China) during the next three to five years,” Sharif had told Arab News during a recent interview.
Faced with a balance of payments crisis, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia twice, followed by a trip to the UAE for financial assistance.
The Kingdom responded with generous bailout package worth $6 billion. Islamabad has so far received $2 billion from Riyadh while another $1 billion is expected this month.
Apart from the balance of payments support, the Kingdom is expected to invest nearly $15 billion in Pakistan’s petrochemical and renewable energy sectors. Saudi Aramco and Acwa Power are the leading Saudi investors in Pakistan. 
Similarly, the UAE has also pledged to extend $3 billion to Pakistan to help avert it’s economic crisis.
Islamabad is expecting a heavy inflow of foreign direct investment from Beijing after the signing of a deal with China which is being described as the second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. “We roughly estimated that around $15 billion to $20 billion investments will be made within the next three years during the second phase of CPEC,” Sharif said.


China calls for de-escalation of tensions in South Asia

Updated 19 March 2019
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China calls for de-escalation of tensions in South Asia

  • FM Qureshi is visiting Beijing to attend the strategic dialogue between the two countries
  • China applauded Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts

ISLAMABAD: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday called for de-escalation of tensions in South Asia and emphasized the need for dialogue to resolve all outstanding dispute in the region, said an official handout circulated by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

China’s top diplomat made the statement during his conversation with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is currently visiting Beijing to attend the China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

“The two sides reaffirmed support to each other on all core issues of their national interest,” the handout read. “They underlined that state sovereignty and territorial integrity are cardinal principles of UN Charter and international law.”

Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, both leaders expressed support for the ongoing efforts for peace and reconciliation in that country, reiterating “support for Afghan-owned Afghan-led inclusive peace process and called on all stakeholders in Afghanistan to become part of an intra-Afghan dialogue.”

China and Pakistan also agreed to continue their mutual collaboration and reaffirmed their commitment to the economic corridor between Gwadar and Xinjiang as they pledged to work for the smooth implementation of the project, especially its Special Economic Zones.

“While rejecting the negative propaganda against CPEC, they expressed a strong resolve to safeguard [it] from all kinds of threats,” Pakistan’s official statement said.

The two sides also agreed to increase cooperation against terrorism by strengthening communication and coordination in different areas of importance. “The Chinese side highly appreciated Pakistan’s commitment and efforts to counter terrorism,” the handout read, adding: “Foreign Minister of Pakistan expressed appreciation for Chinese support for Pakistan’s efforts.”