By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Saudi Arabia will invest in a new oil refinery in Pakistan’s growing deep sea port of Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan Province, Islamabad announced on October 4.
The agreement follows a visit last month by Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Gulf kingdom as he seeks to attract foreign investment.
A visiting Saudi delegation “showed an interest to immediately invest in the refinery,” Pakistani Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said. “This has been agreed from both sides.”
The agreement is set to be signed between Pakistan State Oil company and Riyadh’s state oil giant Saudi Aramco.
“We sat down and held initial discussions with them and it was principally decided by both sides that it will be a government-to-government agreement,” Khan said.
Details of the refinery’s costs and scope are to be worked out later, he said.
Gwadar’s port is being developed as part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an ambitious plan to build energy and transport links connecting the western Chinese region of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea via Pakistan, as part of Beijing’s broader Silk Belt and Road initiative.
Gwadar is part of Pakistan’s mineral-rich Balochistan Province, which for years has been wracked by violent attacks staged by ethnic, Islamist, and sectarian militants.