The Shehbaz Sharif government has succeeded in persuading Saudi Arabia to revive a major project shelved during the PTI government and establish a state-of-the-art deep conversion refinery along with a petrochemical complex in Pakistan.
According to the reports, a high-powered delegation of the kingdom, headed by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is coming to Pakistan in the last week of November during which a formal announcement is expected in this regard.
The Pakistani side, according to the report, made huge efforts to persuade the kingdom to honour the MoUs and invest in Pakistan. Islamabad also put its weight behind Riyadh, which has locked horns with Washington over the cut in oil supply in the international market.
In February 2019, during the visit of Mohammad Bin Salman to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia signed MoUs for an investment of $21 billion in various sectors of the economy, including for the project of a deep conversion refinery and petrochemical complex with an investment of $12 billion.
The Saudi oil giant Aramco also conducted a study in this regard which found that setting up a refinery in Gwadar was not feasible. However, it can be established at Hub, Balochistan, or near Karachi, the official said.
Later, when the ties of Imran Khan's government got strained with Saudi Arabia, the top decision-makers of the kingdom virtually put MoUs of $21 billion on the backburner signed in February 2019.
The government also wants investment from China for a refinery and to this effect, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during his upcoming visit to China, will offer Beijing to set up a refinery in Pakistan.
The government is also working on setting up another state-of-the-art and deep conversion Parco Coastal Refinery (PCR) for $5-6 billion with a capacity to refine 250,000 million barrels per day (BPD) crude oil at Hub, Balochistan.
The prime minister, during his visit to Beijing, will offer China to become a stakeholder in PARCO-2 and also invite Beijing to install a refinery in Gwadar based on the new refining policy.