New vistas of Pak-Saudi cooperation to be unlocked on Crown Prince’s arrival: Minister

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that new vistas of Pak-Saudi cooperation will be unlocked on arrival of the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Salman.

In a statement on Friday, the minister said that 10 memorandum of understandings (MoUs) including one on a $10 billion Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Complex are going to be signed with the Saudi government during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince.

The minister said that the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince is success of economic diplomacy between two brotherly countries. He said that previous governments were keen to build personal relations with Saudi Arabia and China whereas under the vision of a new Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has focused on developing based on mutual respect and national interests.

Ghulam Sarwar said that the Saudi side has indicated that the capacity of proposed oil refinery will be between 250,000-300,000 bpd (11-13 million tons per annum). Whereas the cost of the refinery will be determined after the feasibility study, he added. Initially both sides will study the feasibility of the proposed project after signing of the MoU.

The federal minister said that Saudi technical teams have visited Gwadar and Karachi. He further added that the mega oil refinery will result in added benefits like reliability in fuel supply, import substitution and exports. It will enhance confidence of local and foreign investors.

There will be technology transfer, skill enhancement and Human Capital Development and direct and indirect employment will be generated. The visiting side has also shown interest in Pakistan’s mines, minerals, fertilizers, phosphate and LNG storage capacity.

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Moreover, the Saudi side has expressed strong interest in exploring investment opportunities in Pakistan’s Petrochemical sector which was termed as a ‘game changer’ and would result in savings of $ 1.2 billion per annum in import substitution. He further said that there are eight operating oil refineries in the country.

The combined production of local refineries during FY 2018 remained 13.5 million tons/annum versus the consumption of the country as 26 million tons/annum in FY 2018. The local refineries meet about 50% of the local demand.

The minister further added that 8 other MoUs will also be signed, including in sectors like ,mineral development, renewable energy resources, drug control and its smuggling, youth and sports, combating crime and cultural cooperation.

The petroleum minister said that today’s Pakistan is a confident Pakistan. It is a country on the move and is looked upon favorably in the comity of nations. It has rebuilt and strengthened relations with its traditional friends and allies.

Pakistan is a country that stands for peace and would undertake efforts to foster peace between friends and neighbors. It stands ready to be a hub of commerce, trade and foreign investment.

A major step in this direction is the over hauling of the visa regime wherein nationals of more than a dozen countries would be given visa on arrival.

Ghulam Sarwar also quoted that Air France is planning to resume its service after 11 years, just like British Airways. He said that Pakistan is being led by an honest and visionary leadership.