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Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that Saudi Arabia will invest an estimated $10 billion in the setting-up of a deep conversion oil refinery at Gwadar and petrochemical sector. The minister said this during an informal talk with media persons here on Monday. He said that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with respect to the establishment of an oil refinery with the Saudi government would be signed during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is expected to arrive here by end-February.

He talked about his recent visit to Gwadar where he received Saudi Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Abdulaziz D Al-Falih and other members of the Saudi delegation. Al-Falih went to Gwadar to visit the sites for setting up Saudi's Amarco's proposed oil refinery there.

"The Saudi delegation had an aerial view of the proposed sites for setting up an oil refinery at Gwadar. One site is 80 kilometres while the other is 30 kilometres away from Gwadar and hopefully, they would like the location somewhere nearer Gwadar," the minister guessed.

The proposed oil refinery will have the capacity to refine from 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of oil per day; however, a feasibility study will be carried out to determine the real size of and investment in the proposed oil refinery, keeping in view the quantities of domestic consumption and export.

The minister maintained that a UAE company has shown interest in the development project of Parco Oil Refinery extension of up to 300,000 tonnes of oil per day capacity at Hub (Balochistan).

He said that work on refinery would be started soon as Saudis are showing keen interest in the project. He said, "They showed interest to invest in mining, renewable energy and industrial sectors as well as in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects."

In Balochistan, he said the drilling in allocated blocks would be started in two months after restoration of law and order situation there. In this respect, grilling at Block 28 - a joint venture of Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and Mari Petroleum Company Ltd - would be launched soon.

He said that discussions might take place on price reviewing clause in the LNG contract with 15-year-long during recent visit of a high-level delegation to Qatar. It should be discussed in the Prime Minister's scheduled visit to Qatar, he added.

He said, "The federal government has initiated talks with the provinces on new energy policy." Consultations with provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan were already held in this respect, he added. The objective of long-term policy is to bring foreign direct investment (FDI) for developing indigenous sources of oil and gas.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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