* China to develop oil city in Gwadar, railway track to be laid to China
By Zafar Bhutta
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) is likely to provide Pakistan $2.25 billion to lay the infrastructure of a ‘trade and energy corridor’, a senior official in the Petroleum Ministry told Daily Times.
The official said Pakistan had requested the WB authorities to provide $2.25 billion for developing the infrastructure of the trade and energy corridor that would serve as a gateway for commerce and transport between South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Gulf countries.
He said negotiations were under way and the WB had indicated it would provide the loan.
Oil Terminal: The official said the government had planned setting up an oil terminal at the Gwadar Port and the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) had estimated the setting up of the terminal would require Rs 2 billion. He said the Planning Commission had asked the Finance Ministry to provide the amount to the PSO. He said the Finance Ministry was under pressure regarding the financing and WB funding could help in the circumstances.
China: He added China would develop an ‘oil city’ in Gwadar and many oil refineries would be set up, resulting in huge investment as well as enhancing Pakistan’s oil storage capacity. He said a railway track would be laid from Gwadar to China to provide transportation to Chinese investors.
He said that with the sustained inflow of investment, Pakistan would be able to execute projects worth billions of dollars and utilise the Gwadar Port’s key location to best advantage.
“Any land-based trade between the Gulf region and the South Asian states can best take place through Pakistan. The country would work as a link between the Gulf region, Iran, Afghanistan, China and Central Asia that would make all of us natural trading partners,” he said. “Pakistan is the ideal approach for the shipment of Indian goods to Afghanistan and the Central Asian markets,” he added.
He said transit through Pakistan could provide the most economical shipment route of fuel from energy-rich Gulf states, Iran and Turkmenistan to energy-deficient India. This would be particularly effective for natural gas pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan.