Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, has been investing heavily in refinery and petrochemicals projects across the globe to secure long-term buyers of its oil.
The 10 billion dollar refinery and oil complex in the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, the ultimate destination for the massive multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor, lies not far from the Indo-Iranian port of Chabahar, where India invested heavily.
A pipeline from Gwadar to China would cut the supply time from the current 40 days to just seven. Developed as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative with investments worth some 60 billion dollars, Gwadar is being billed as a regional industrial hub of the future, easily accessible for Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa.
But so far China has rejected other partners for the corridor that seeks to connect its western province Xinjiang with Gwadar, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE
Iran late last year inaugurated Chabahar, which provides a key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan and allows India to bypass Pakistan.
India has seen Chabahar as a key way both to send supplies to Afghanistan and to step up trade with Central Asia as well as Africa Riyadh is not expected to get involved in any Indo-Pakistani rivalry and the kingdom also has major strategic energy deals with New Delhi.