Saudi Arabia says it plans to set up a $10 billion oil refinery in Pakistan’s deepwater port of Gwadar, which is being developed with the help of China.
“Saudi Arabia wants to make Pakistan’s economic development stable through establishing an oil refinery and partnership with Pakistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters in Gwadar on January 12.
Falih made the comments as he visited the site for the proposed oil refinery, along with Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan’s minister for petroleum and natural resources.
Falih said Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman would visit Pakistan in February to sign the agreement.
Located in the southwestern province of Balochistan, Gwadar is the crown jewel of China’s $60 billion investment in its Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan.
Beijing has pledged to invest $60 billion as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to help turn Pakistan into a major route linking western China to the world.
The project involves building major highways and railways, higher-capacity ports, and power stations.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who came to power in August, has secured economic-assistance packages from China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.).
In December, the U.A.E. announced that it would deposit $3 billion in Pakistan’s central bank to help the country overcome a deepening economic crisis.
The developments come amid Pakistan’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to secure an $8 billion bailout package.