KARACHI: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday expressed satisfaction over the pace of work on mega oil refinery and other joint projects in the oil sector of the South Asian country.
Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki met with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar in Islamabad and discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries, according to a statement issued by the Petroleum Division.
“The Ambassador was upbeat on the current trajectory of the bilateral relationship between both the countries and described the relationship between both Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as ‘brotherly, fraternal and based on solid foundations,’” the statement said.
“This, the Ambassador said, is also reflected in the frequent high-level of exchanges at the leadership level,” the statement added.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement early last year to set up a $10 billion Aramco oil refinery project and a $1 billion petrochemical complex in Gwadar.
Both countries during the official visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed seven investment deals worth $21 billion that included an oil refinery, mineral development, two power plants, and food and agriculture projects.
Pakistan also invited Saudi business houses on Wednesday to explore the diverse investment potential of the country.
Babar shared with the ambassador aspects of the reform process being carried out in Pakistan’s energy sector. “Pakistan has recently emerged as a leading reformer in the World Bank Ease of Doing business rankings and countries are looking at it as a favorable investment destination,” he told the Saudi envoy.
The mega oil refinery with the capacity of around 300,000 BPD is expected to take five to six years for commissioning.
The project is also expected to save Pakistan’s $2-3 billion annually on the import of petroleum products and help the country establish its plastic industry with the operationalization of the petrochemical complex.
Pakistan’s petroleum group imports declined by 19.8 percent during the first half of the current fiscal year. The country has imported $6.14 billion worth of various petroleum products during July-December 2019 out of the total imports worth $23.23 billion, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The Saudi oil refinery and petrochemical complex are expected to help Pakistan with the transfer of technology, skill enhancement, and human capital development. It is also likely to generate significant employment opportunities and strengthen allied economic sectors as well.