Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed in principle to built a huge Saudi Aramco refinery in the Gwadar deepwater port in Balochistan, near the border with Iran.
Haroon Sharif, the chairman of the Pakistan Board of Investment, told Arab News: "A 15-member Saudi delegation has visited Gwadar and we have finalised the memorandum of understanding for the construction of Aramco oil refinery."
The deal for the refinery and petrochemical complex, which is expected to have a construction value of between $6bn and $10bn, is expected to be signed in February, when another Saudi delegation will visit the country.
The two countries have been improving their relations since the election of Imran Khan as prime minister of Pakistan in August last year. Khan chose Saudi Arabia as the destination for his first official foreign trip, and has visited twice since.
Pakistan now expects some $15bn in investment from the Saudis, as well as $3bn in financial assistance.
As well as the Aramco deal, Saudi contractor Acwa Power will invest in the republic’s renewable energy sector.
According to Arab News, Pakistan hopes to attract more than $40bn in foreign direct investment during the next five years, mainly from the Saudis, the UAE and China.
Image: The port of Gwadar (Madihasalam/CC BY-SA 4.0)