LAHORE - The Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Grace Refinery, an international petrochemical company, for $5 billion investment in Punjab.

The MoU was signed here at PBIT headquarters on Friday. PBIT Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amena Cheema and Grace Refinery CEO Uzma Bashir signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations.

Amena Cheema said the MoU was a part of an ambitious venture that will have a positive impact on both the economy and local population. She said that all credit for this latest achievement and the overall economic turnaround in Punjab went to the Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and his visionary leadership.

Over the past few months, she disclosed, the PBIT remained in close contact with Grace Refinery, holding several meetings and video-conferences with their management to convince them to invest in Punjab. Subsequently, a meeting was held at PBIT office in Lahore to materialise the deal.

Under the MoU, she said, the PBIT would act as one window facilitator for the Grace Refinery for fast-track facilitation and necessary support for early commissioning of the project. The board would also help the foreign company in acquisition of necessary licenses and land for their market entry, she added.

Grace Refinery CEO Uzma Bashir said her company was going to introduce the latest, Euro 6 standard, refinery technology in Pakistan that would reduce carbon emissions from fuels. She said the refinery with 220,000 barrels per stream day (bpsd) capacity would substantially substitute oil imports in the country and generate around 50,000 to 70,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in South Punjab.

She also disclosed that the Grace Refinery was negotiating with its crude oil suppliers to join hands in building an oil pipeline from the source into Pakistan for its feedstock. She said the project would take three to five years in completion but the company was trying to channelize the investment during the present government regime.