Saudi crown prince MBS expected to visit Pakistan next month

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is likely to visit Pakistan next month (February) to ink a USD10 billion deal to set up a Saudi Aramco oil refinery in Gwadar; though 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. Saudi Energy and Natural Resources Minister Khalid AL-Falih is visiting Gwadar today (Jan 12) to inspect the site for the proposed oil refinery.

Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan along with provincial ministers and federal and provincial high-ups received the Saudi delegation at Gwadar airport. The two sides are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up USD 10 billion oil refinery in Gwadar.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is also expected to visit Islamabad along with a business delegation in March.

The deep seaport where the proposed refinery will be set up is also the terminal point of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. Various other MoUs pertaining to bilateral cooperation in mineral resources are also expected to be signed during the visit of Saudi energy minister.

Currently, the total refining capacity of Pakistan is around 300,000 barrels per day, with Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO), which is a joint venture between Pakistan and Abu Dhabi, having a refining capacity of 100,000. The proposed Saudi refinery will have a capacity of 250,000 barrels per day.

Read more: Managing minefields: Saudi/UAE aid puts Pakistan-Iran relations on the spot

Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan says refinery project will be the largest Saudi investment in Pakistan ever. The expected visit of the Saudi crown prince is part of the regional diplomacy initiatives of the incumbent government which has seen several high-profile visits to and from Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited Saudi Arabia twice since September and has held meetings with King Salman and Crown Prince MBS. Recently, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi has also visited Pakistan on the invitation of PM Khan.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is also expected to visit Islamabad along with a business delegation in March.


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