An United Arab Emirates flag flies at Diyafa Road in Dubai (Photo: NASSER YOUNES/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Arab Emirates will invest a whopping USD 5 billion in an oil refinery project in cash-strapped Pakistan by the end of the year, the Gulf nation’s envoy was quoted as saying by a media report on Friday.

“This project will show the strength of UAE-Pakistan relations and how the UAE is focusing on investment in and future of Pakistan,” UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi was quoted as saying by the  Arab News.

“We are going to launch very soon one of the biggest investments in a refinery project in Hub (in Pakistan’s Balochistan province),” Al-Zaabi said.

It is going to be a USD 5 billion investment venture between Mubadala Petroleum Company of Abu Dhabi, Pak Arab Refinery Limited (Parco) and OMV (OMV Pakistan Exploration Gesellschaft), he said.

According to the report, which was carried by major Pakistani newspapers on Friday, the project was a result of “extensive discussions” between Mubadala Petroleum, Pakistan’s petroleum ministry as well as Parco and OMV.

The envoy said the two countries were moving forward on new projects and investment.    The UAE ambassador said that the two governments were “finalising the minute details of this refinery project”.

Many meetings have taken place on the oil refinery project, he said. A delegation from the UAE, headed by the chief executive officer of Mubadala Petroleum, had met with the Board of Investment chairman and the petroleum minister during a visit to Pakistan a few months ago.

“They have discussed this project in detail. We are going to launch it very soon,” Al-Zaabi said.

In July, the International Monetary Fund approved a USD 6 billion loan to Pakistan, which is facing significant economic challenges on the back of large fiscal and financial needs and weak and unbalanced growth.

Cash-strapped Pakistan has also received some USD 9 billion in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recent months.

(PTI)