PM Imran Khan had confirmed in October 2018 that Pakistan was in talks with Saudi investors for oil projects

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have reportedly finalised an agreement to build a multibillion-dollar Saudi Aramco oil refinery in Gwadar, a city in the Balochistan province.

Following a signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries, as reported by Arab News, Pakistan is expecting to sign a number of investment deals in Februrary 2019. One of these will be for the construction of the mega oil refinery and will be signed in the presence of “a high level Saudi delegation”, as confirmed by Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

The project is reportedly the biggest Saudi investment in Pakistan and comes amid concerted efforts by both countries to deepen bilateral strategic and trade ties.

Speaking to the Riyadh-based news outlet, Haroon Sharif, Pakistan’s Minister of State and chairman of Pakistan Board of Investment (BoI) said: “A 15-member delegation of Saudi Arabia visited Gwadar from Karachi as part of the finalisation process of the MoU for Aramco oil refinery.

“We have finalised the MoU for the construction of [the] Aramco oil refinery,” he added, reportedly stating that “overall directions have been agreed upon and the agreement will be signed at an appropriate time.”

According to the report, Sharif added: “We estimate that roughly around $40bn investment will be made by these three countries [Saudi Arabia, UAE, and China] in the next three to five years.”

The news comes less than three months after Pakistan’s new Prime Minster Imran Khan confirmed that the country was in talks with investors from Saudi Arabia relating to the construction of oil refineries.

Speaking at Saudi Arabia’s massive Public Investment Fund-backed investment conference, Future Investment Initiative, in October 2018, Khan said: “We actually need two oil refineries in Pakistan to meet demand. We have already met with Saudi investors who have [recently visited] Pakistan.”