KARACHI: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy and the Chairman of the Board of Saudi Aramco, Eng. Khalid A Al-Falih, on Saturday visited the port city of Gwadar to witness development work and the area allocated for a multibillion oil refinery.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are in talks over an agreement to install the Saudi Aramco Oil Refinery in Balochistan’s Gwadar district.
Last year, the Saudis also offered Pakistan a $6-billion rescue package to help shore up the economy.
The Saudi delegation was received by Pakistan petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, port and shippings minister Syed Ali Haider Zaidi and Baluchistan information minister Zahoor Buledi.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the two sound foundations of peace and stability”, Khalid A Al-Falih, said while speaking to media in Gwadar.
Al Falih said bilateral relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are very strong and Saudia Arabai would "play its role for the development and prosperity of Pakistan."
“The Saudi delegation led by Al Falih has come to see the area allocated for the oil refinery in Gwadar. Soon a state of the art oil refinery would be set up in Gwadar”, Ghulam Sarwar said, according to a statement issued by the ministry of petroleum.
The petroleum minister said he hoped that a memorandum of understanding about the oil refinery would be signed between the two governments during the expected visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman next month: “This would be the biggest investment of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan."
The government of Pakistan has already given approval for the MoU.
The visiting Saudi delegation was briefed by the chairman of Gwadar Development Authority, Dostain Jamaldini, about the development of the country’s deep sea port being constructed with the help of China.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Finance minister had said that the Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy and the Chairman of the Board of Saudi Aramco, had arrived in Pakistan to meet with officials and new investments would be announced as the "next step."
Umar was speaking at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and called the Saudi minister the "world’s most powerful minister of energy."
“In the next step, the announcement of investment will be made,” Umar said. “The bilateral support our country has received from friendly countries in last five months has never happened in our history."
Saudi Aramco will construct the petrochemical complex which will house the multibillion oil refinery.
“Overall directions of agreement (MoU) have been agreed upon and the agreement will be signed at the appropriate time,” Haroon Sharif, Chairman of Pakistan Board of Investment, had recently told Arab News.
“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, he said.
“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 added.