Saudi energy minister inspects the land for proposed oil refinery in Gawadar

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: A high level delegation headed by Khalid Al Falih, the Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia arrived in port city Gwadar to inspect the land allocated for a proposed oil refinery. Upon his arrival Federal Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, deputy ambassador of Saudi embassy in pakisan Habib Ullah Bukhari received the visiting dignitary.

Federal Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar, on Friday during a press conference Khan said that the Saudi funded oil refinery would be a ‘state-of-the-art facility’ and one of the biggest investment of the Saudi government in Pakistan, for which a Memorandum of Understanding was expected to be signed next month. Khan clarified that China has no concerns regarding the Saudi investment in Gawadar. This refinery will be the world’s third largest. It will supply oil to Pakistan and China. Earlier in October, a delegation headed by the Saudi foreign minister visited the site and was briefed on the special economic zone set up there.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is likely to visit Pakistan next month to ink a USD10 billion deal to set up a Saudi Aramco oil refinery in Gwadar, although dates for the visit have not been finalized and announced yet. It is expected that the crown prince during his visit will sign the agreement to set up the Saudi oil refinery in Gwadar.

Sources prior to the developments claimed that officials in Islamabad and Riyadh will likely sign additional MoUs pertaining to cooperation in mineral resources. ”The kingdom is interested for investment in oil refinery, petrochemicals, renewable energy and mining apart from the $10bn plus Saudi investment which is expected to be signed.” The $10bn investment will be in addition to the Saudi package of $6bn approved by the kingdom to Pakistan during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia in October last year.

It is reminded that it was a second high level Saudi delegation which visiting Gawadar, earlier a Saudi investment delegation set a comprehensive visit to Gawadar Port in first week of January. The Delegation was comprised of senior officials from Saudi ministry of energy industry and natural resources, businessmen and investors from Saudi Arabia was led by Ahmad Algamdi, the adviser to Saudi Energy Minister were briefed in detail regarding development of the port.

Accompanying the investment delegation from Saudi Arabia during this, Fahim Alhamid Adviser to Saudi Media Minister said the Gawadar project is full of investment opportunities and the Saudi delegation visit was a unique chance to see investment opportunities which would be benefiting for the two brotherly countries. During the visit, the delegation witnessed all potential investment opportunities available in the Gawadar Port, investment opportunities available in special economic zones attached to CPEC.

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