Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Power and Petroleum, said work has been started on 14.5 billion dollar worth of Saudi Arabia’s energy and petroleum projects in Pakistan.

In an interview with Arab News, he said the initiatives are part of an effort to boost the production and use of oil and renewable power and overcome power shortages.

He said in the power sector, Saudi Arabia is helping Pakistan install 500 megawatts renewable energy projects worth 4.5 billion dollars in Baluchistan. The studies have been carried out by Saudi company Aqua Power, Pakistani National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) and other leading companies to look into hybrid or solar projects.

He said the process of hiring technical experts for the Gwadar oil refinery project started and would be completed in the next three months. The refinery would have a 250,000 to 300,000 barrels per day capacity that would help Pakistan cut its annual crude oil import bill by nearly 3 billion dollar.

Omar Ayub said this was the first phase of Saudi investment in Pakistan and as soon as they will start achieving targets, another phase of investment would start. Saudi investment would help Pakistan achieve its target of shifting 30 percent of its energy needs to the renewable energy sector by 2030.

He said Aramco is already working in the downstream exploration activities in Pakistan and we would welcome more Saudi companies to come in Pakistan for investment.