A Pakistani national flag flies over the Great Hall of the People during Sharif ‘s state visit in Beijing. Sharif on Friday told his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang their countries’ relationship was “sweeter than honey” during talks with economic ties at the top of the agenda.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government has decided to offer China to lay oil pipeline from Gwadar to Western China - a move that will allow the latter to diversify and safeguard its crude oil import routes, sources said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would make a formal offer to his Chinese counterpart during his current visit to China. The government is expected to sign within a month an operational agreement with China to hand over Gwadar Port to a Chinese company.
Officials said Pak-China oil pipeline could later be linked with Iran that had already offered to lay oil pipeline from its territory to Gwadar to transport crude oil. During the PPP era, Iran had also announced to set up oil refinery at Gwadar Port with 400,000 barrels per day oil production capacity.
“So, this proposal may become feasible after Chinese company takes operational control of Gwadar Port,” official said adding that Gwadar Port is quite near to Persian Gulf through which nearly 40% of world’s oil supply flow is maintained.
Officials maintained that 50% of total oil demand of China is met from imports that come from Middle East. At present supply line to China runs over 10,000km Dubai-Shanghai-Urumqi ocean route.
“The crude oil processed and refined at Gwadar Oil Refinery can be exported and transported to Urumqi through the shortest possible route to China via Dubai-Gwadar-Urumqi which is about 3,600km. For this a oil pipeline will be laid through the envisaged Energy Corridor up to Western China via KKH/Khunjrab bypass,” officials said.
They said that impediments like high altitude, freezing temperature and difficult terrain could be overcome through certain technological advancements since many countries had successfully completed such pipeline projects under extreme conditions and high altitude such as ATACAMA gas pipeline, Trans-Alkaska Pipeline, Trans-Asia Gas pipeline etc.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has succeeded in persuading Dong Fong Electricity Company of China to resume work on Nandipur power project.
In this connection, a lengthy meeting was held between Chief Minister Shahbaz, Dong Fong Electricity Company Chairman Si Zefu and senior officials of the company in Beijing in which the Dong Fong Electricity Company expressed willingness to restart work on the Nandipur power project.
The company has also directed its engineers to reach Pakistan next Monday for this purpose.
The Nandipur power project would generate 450 megawatts of electricity.
It is noteworthy that due to the undue delay by the PPP government, the Chinese experts had returned to their country, while the machinery for the project worth millions of rupees is rusting at the Karachi port.
Chief Minister Shahbaz has been strongly criticising the federal government over non-implementation of the project. Dong Fong Electricity Company Chairman Si Zefu said that during a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in June 2011 he had told him that injustice was being done by delaying the project as it would cause heavy losses to both the sides.
The chief minister assured the Chinese authorities that they would find the present government completely transparent and determined.
Expressing his views during his meetings with the Chinese investors in Beijing, the chief minister said that Pakistan has a bright future and there are vast opportunities of investment in the country.
He said that the existing problems are temporary and would be overcome soon. Shahbaz Sharif said that he would personally play host to the Chinese investors in Pakistan. He said that priority would be given to joint collaboration and co-operation with Chinese investors in infrastructure and energy sectors.
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