KARACHI: Pakistan and oil giant Saudi Aramco are all set to meet next week to discuss the feasibility of a $10 billion oil refinery project to be constructed in Pakistan’s coastal town of Gwadar, the country’s board of investment said.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Pakistan in February and signed investment agreements worth over $20 billion, including a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in Gwadar where China is building a commercial deepwater port.
The oil refinery will have the capacity to produce 250,000-300,000 barrels per day. Groundwork on the project is expected to start within 18 months after the feasibility study is completed.
Haroon Sharif, the chairman of the Pakistan Board of Investment, said technical teams that would carry out the feasibility study had been formed.
“A technical team comprising 6-7 officials from the ministry of petroleum, board of investment and Pakistan State Oil will leave for the Kingdom on April 15, 2019, to attend a workshop,” he said.
Sharif said Khalid A. Al-Falih, the Saudi minister for energy and chairman of the board of Saudi Aramco, would inaugurate the workshop, arranged by Saudi Aramco so teams from both countries “could understand what technical work needs to be done and how.”
Gwadar, in the southwestern Balochistan province, is seen as the future crown jewel of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to build a new “Silk Road” of land and maritime trade routes across more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Currently, Pakistan imports more than 50 percent petroleum products, which it plans to substitute with local production once the Gwadar refinery starts production.
During the first eight months of current fiscal year 2019, Pakistan has imported $9.6 billion worth of various petroleum products out of total imports worth $36.6 billion.