Pakistan’s Commerce Adviser, Abdul Razak Dawood, has clarified that the proposed $10 billion Aramco oil refinery project in the Gwadar port of Pakistan has not been shelved, contrary to recent rumors. He emphasized that discussions are ongoing between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to determine the project’s viability and ensure favorable returns on investment.
The idea of setting up the oil refinery in Gwadar was initially announced by the Saudi energy minister in January 2019. The refinery is intended to have an oil refining capacity of 250,000 to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) and include a $1 billion petrochemical complex. However, recent comments by Tabish Gauhar, the Pakistani PM’s assistant on power and petroleum, raised speculations that the project might be moved to Karachi instead of Gwadar.
Abdul Razak Dawood addressed these concerns, stating that the project’s feasibility is under careful consideration. He stressed the importance of ensuring that such a significant refinery project is economically viable and financially sound. Dawood reiterated Pakistan’s keen interest in collaborating with Saudi Arabia on the refinery venture while assuring that both parties are committed to achieving a beneficial outcome for all stakeholders.
Earlier this year, Shahzeb Khan Kakar, the director general of Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), revealed plans for a massive “oil city” on 80,000 acres in Gwadar District. The city aims to refine and process imported petroleum products to meet local and regional demands.
Despite speculations, Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state-owned oil company, declined to comment on the matter. Additionally, Tablish Gauhar, who previously mentioned the possibility of relocating the refinery, did not respond to queries regarding the future of the Gwadar oil city and refinery.
Dawood firmly asserted that the project remains under discussion and has not been shelved. However, experts highlight the need to expedite mega projects like the oil refinery and suggested that a separate unit be established at the Prime Minister’s office to monitor progress and report directly to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
As Pakistan seeks to enhance its economic and industrial capabilities, the successful implementation of such high-profile projects with foreign partners holds immense importance. Through careful assessment and collaboration, the country aims to create a conducive environment for foreign investment while ensuring sustainable growth and development in the energy sector.