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Saudi Arabia, Pakistan finalize MoU to set up Aramco oil refinery in Gwadar

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KARACHI: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have finalised the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of the multi-billion-dollar Saudi Aramco oil refinery in Gwadar deep seaport city, officials said on Thursday.

Pakistan is expecting to sign a number of investment deals, including the construction of mega oil refinery, in the month of February in the presence of a high-level Saudi delegation, confirmed Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

“The oil refinery project is the biggest investment project of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan,” he added.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have lately expressed renewed interest in enhancing bilateral strategic and trade engagements while KSA also pledged $3 billion in a financial assistant to help Pakistan out of its economic woes.

“A 15-member delegation of Saudi Arabia visited Gwadar from Karachi as part of the finalization process of the MoU for Aramco oil refinery,” said Minister of State and Board of Investment Chairman Haroon Sharif in an interview with a foreign news agency.

“We have finalized the MoU for the construction of Aramco oil refinery,” Sharif said, adding that “overall directions have been agreed upon and the agreement will be signed at an ‘appropriate time’.”

Pakistani authorities expect $15 billion investment from Saudi Arabia after Prime Minister Imran Khan chose KSA for his maiden visit and consequently made two official visits.

Earlier, the BoI chief had said, “We are going to sign MoUs with Saudi Aramco and Acwa Power within few weeks. Saudi Aramco is going to set up oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Pakistan while Acwa Power will invest in Pakistan renewable energy sector.”

As part of the investment plan, the Saudi Aramco will construct petrochemical complex housing multi-billion-dollar oil refinery.

“I am expecting around $15 billion investment from Saudi Arabia in the next 3 years. The inflow of investment for oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Pakistan is estimated to be between $6 billion to $10 billion,” the BoI chairman stated.

Pakistan hopes to attract more than $40 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) during the next five years. “We estimate that roughly around $40 billion investment will be made by these three countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and China) in the next three to five years,” Sharif had said during his recent interview.

During the recent visit of the Saudi delegation to Gwadar, Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini on Wednesday gave a briefing about the current developments including the port, progress on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar Master Plan.