ISLAMABAD: The Saudi delegation has arrived in Islamabad on Sunday to hold talks with their Pakistani counterparts and are expected to sign four memorandums of understanding (MoU) for oil and mineral sector investment.
This would eventually extend China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from Gwadar to Africa via Oman and Riyadh, reports Dawn.
The Saudi delegation is on a four-day visit to Islamabad and is expected to sign four MoUs by the end their trip end, said sources.
This would enable the government to obtain the supply of crude oil and other petroleum products on deferred payments.
Also, Riyadh is exploring the possibility of setting up an oil refinery at Gwadar and investing in LNG-based power projects in Punjab and a copper and gold project in Balochistan’s Reko Diq.
The Saudi delegation is being led by the Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and would also have members from its state-owned oil giant Aramco, sources said.
From the Pakistani side, besides the presence of authorities from various ministries, state-owned Pakistan State Oil (PSO) would also be part of the direct talks, said sources.
They shared the Saudi’s in lieu of its tensions with Iran and Qatar was looking to diversifying its trade routes including for oil supplies.
The Saudi’s are exploring two options to build a 40-kilometre bridge or tunnel for connecting Gwadar with Muscat and Oman at the mouth of Strait of Hormuz at one end and link its industrial city of Jazan with Eritrea’s Massawa region via a 440 km tunnel across the Red Sea.
According to sources, the meeting between both the sides will be held on Monday which will include officials of Pakistani and Saudi companies under the umbrella of the ministries of energy and mineral resources and industries & production for setting up 110,000 barrel per day (BPD) refinery at Gwadar.
And during this meeting, the matter of investment in copper mines of Reko Diq and phosphate supply will also be discussed.
Deliberations will be conducted between the two sides regarding the supply of refined products and crude oil imports on deferred payments, said sources.
Furthermore, a follow-up session will be held to discuss the proposed privatisation of two LNG-based power plants established by federal funding in Punjab on Monday.
The Saudi delegation will visit Gwadar Port and Reko Diq on Tuesday told sources. Initial talks will be carried out on Wednesday regarding the proposed MoUs on Reko Diq, Gwadar refinery and two power plants-both refined and crude.
Pakistan is said to have asked Saudi Arabia to reach a long-term arrangement for providing oil supplies on deferred payments- which currently is one of the most important elements for a balance of payments support.