Gwadar Port: Pakistan, China all set to develop master plan

ISLAMABAD:

In a strategic move, Pakistan and China are set to make headway towards developing a master plan for Gwadar Port as part of an economic corridor that envisages investment of $12 billion by Beijing.

Officials of the two countries will take up the matter during talks in Beijing on February 17, where Pakistan’s team will be led by Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, officials say.

As part of the economic corridor that will turn Pakistan into a hub of regional cooperation, Gwadar Port will be connected through road, rail and fibre links to China to help enhance trade between the two countries.

Oil and gas pipelines are also part of the economic corridor over the long run, which is expected to provide a much-needed boost to economic activities in insurgency-hit Balochistan, according to the officials.

Under the short-term plan, Islamabad and Beijing want to develop Gwadar Port, whose control had already been given to China, in a bid to attract investment in different sectors to make it a hub of economic activities. Under this plan, an oil city will be set up at the port to meet fuel needs.

However, the United States and India are not pleased with the handing over of Gwadar Port to China, which will enhance its presence in the sea.

The government is also looking to revive the abandoned Coastal Oil Refinery at Gwadar, a project that had been shelved by China in 2009-10 after operations of the port were handed over to the Singapore Port Authority. A global recession compounded the problems, providing another reason to shelve the project.

The refinery, designed to have a maximum output of 60,000 barrels of oil per day, is part of China’s plan to invest $12 billion in multiple projects in Pakistan.

Oil pipeline

Officials pointed out that the oil and gas pipelines depended on normalisation of relations between the US and Iran.

Though Iran supplies oil and gas to Turkey, China and India, the US is piling on the pressure on Pakistan to stop it from importing energy from Tehran. Experts describe it an attempt to push Pakistan towards economic collapse due to acute energy shortages.

The PML-N government, which took over in June last year, has already offered Beijing to lay an oil pipeline from Gwadar to western China – a move that will allow the latter to diversify and safeguard crude oil import routes.

Officials suggested that the oil pipeline could later be linked with Iran, which had already offered to build a pipeline from its territory to Gwadar for the transport of crude oil.

During the previous government’s tenure, Iran had also expressed its willingness to set up an oil refinery at Gwadar Port with a production capacity of 400,000 barrels per day.

Officials pointed out that Gwadar Port was quite close to the Persian Gulf through which nearly 40% of world’s oil supply flows. China meets 50% of oil demand through imports from the Middle East. The supply line to China runs over the 10,000km Dubai-Shanghai-Urumqi ocean route.

“The crude oil processed and refined at the Gwadar oil refinery can be exported to Urumqi through the shortest possible route, which is Dubai-Gwadar-Urumqi spanning over 3,600 km. For this, an oil pipeline will be laid through the energy corridor up to western China via Karakoram Highway/Khunjrab Bypass,” an official said.

瓜达尔港4月将运营 中国石油运输线可缩短85%

  由中国援建的、巴基斯坦第三大港口瓜达尔港目前已基本竣工,预计将于4月中旬全面投入运营。巴基斯坦当局表示,会逐步将瓜达尔港打造成一个自由贸易区。分析指,由于瓜达尔港临近主要石油产地波斯湾,瓜达尔港落成并全面运营,对中国的能源战略,具有重大意义。

  报导显示,随着瓜达尔港2231英亩自贸区用地征地完成,瓜达尔港也将于4月中旬全面运营,并迎来首班商业货轮。瓜达尔港管理局负责人表示,瓜达尔港的基础设施建设已到收官阶段,正全力建设自贸区,众多国内国际公司已在当地建立商展中心,将利用瓜达尔港作为其主要进出口港。项目建成后,货物可直接从瓜达尔港经乌塔尔、库兹达、苏库尔直达巴基斯坦北部地方,比传统的卡拉奇运输线路节省400公里。分析人士指出,此外还能为当地老百姓提供众多就业机会,促进区域经济繁荣。

  巴基斯坦时事评论员希紮尔:瓜达尔港的全面投入运营将为巴基斯坦带来巨大发展,这将为巴基斯坦带来大量的经济活动,还将造福俾路支省的老百姓,这可以为他们提供工作机会。

  2006年12月,新加坡公司击败了中国公司,夺得了瓜达尔港的运营权,13年3月,瓜达尔港务局把运营权从新加坡公司移交给中国公司,中国公司正式取得了瓜达尔港的运营控制权。而起点从瓜达尔港终点到喀什,贯穿巴基斯坦南北和连结中国西部的中巴铁路与公路一旦贯通,将石油运到瓜达尔港,再由陆路输往中国,中国的石油运输路程将缩短85%。目前,从中东到中国,中国的海上石油之路长达14490公里。瓜达尔港的全面投入运营,将大大缩短中国海上石油之路的经济和时间成本。分析人士表示,中国对瓜达尔港的控制运营权,将使海上贸易从单极化向多极化转变,因而引起了一些国家的担忧。

  巴基斯坦时事评论员希紮尔:瓜达尔港投入使用,将给予中国无法撼动的区域经济地位,因此美国和印度都在极力反对中国介入瓜达尔港。

  分析指,瓜达尔港的全面投入运营,对于中国来说,将使得该港成为连接中国、阿拉伯海和霍尔木兹海峡的走廊,同时也将促进这一区域的石油运输和交易。