Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Islamabad next week and is set to ink major investment deals in Pakistan, according to sources.
The date of the Saudi prince’s arrival has not yet been confirmed although he is expected in to arrive in Pakistan within a week, according to sources. A number of deals are likely to be signed during the visit, according to sources from both countries.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been allies for decades and there has been increasing behind the scenes activity in recent months to finalize the details of the deals.
The record investment package will likely come as a relief to Pakistan and aid in overcoming recent economic challenges in the country.
The single largest expected investment is the $10 billion refinery and oil complex the Saudis have pledged in the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea. This is the key destination for the massive multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the Saudis have seen the benefits of investing in the region.
This is going to be one of the biggest-ever Saudi investments in Pakistan.Senior finance ministry official
In recent months, Pakistan has received much needed assistance from friendly nations in the gulf countries, with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia both deferring billions of dollars in oil payments. They also assisted the rupee by depositing $3 billion in Pakistan.
For Saudi Arabia, the investments are in line with achieving strategic and commercial goals by investing in infrastructure projects in promising areas.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih visited Gwadar in January and inspected the site for the proposed oil refinery at the deep sea port. The Saudis hope to increase their market share in refining across the globe and Gwadar is an ideal opportunity.
At the time, the minister was quoted as saying that Saudi Arabia was studying the area for the development of a refinery and petrochemical complex.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s top crude exporter and has been investing heavily in refinery and petrochemicals projects to secure long term buyers of oil.
A pipeline from Gwadar to China could cut supply time from 40 days to just 7, an ideal situation for the Saudis.