Pakistan’s hoping to lock a deal with Saudi Arabia to set up a $12 billion state-of-the-art oil refinery. The two countries also reached an understanding in this regard during the official visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in February 2019.
“Nearly most of what needed to be done has been done,” Malik said on the sidelines of a ceremony in Islamabad. “We are very close to reaching an agreement.”
“We have been talking and we have been trying to figure out what is the set of policy initiatives or policy incentives that would make the [Saudi] investment of $12 billion in Pakistan viable,” he continued.
He said the government is finalising a policy framework that would also attract investment from across the region.
“We are very close to that agreement, and very soon – and when I say very soon, [I mean] weeks not months – we will be announcing the refinery policy,” he said. “We are very hopeful that after the announcement of the policy, multiple countries will find it worth their while not only to invest in the greenfield refineries but also in the upgradation of our existing refineries which are outdated and inefficient.”
Malik said that two Gulf countries helped Pakistan conduct feasibility studies regarding the oil refinery.
“Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is taking lead in one of the initiatives while PARCO [Pak-Arab Refinery Company] is assisting,” he added. “And PARCO is taking lead in another initiative and all of us are assisting. So, if our incentive structure is good enough, we have these investments forthcoming.”