Chinese grease producer Hengmei Technology Grease Co. still plans to establish a lubricant blending plant in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province as part of a large economic development program, even though Saudi Aramco chose a new location for a refinery meant to anchor the project.
A representative of Hengmei, which is located in the city of Puyang in Henan province, told Lube Report last month that it is proceeding with the blending plant. The company declined to provide additional information about the project, including the plant’s capacity.
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Hengmei is an affiliate of state-owned energy giant Sinopec and focuses on development and production of greases for upstream petroleum exploration, production and refining.
Pakistan officials said earlier this year that Hengmei was one of several companies that had agreed to build facilities in Gwadar, in southwestern Balochistan on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Balochistan is one of Pakistan’s poorest regions, and the government is trying to establish an industrial hub in Gwadar to spur development. The project was intended to serve as a terminus for China’s Silk Road Economic Belt, which is developing a trade corridor from Western China to Pakistan.
The Aramco refinery had been viewed as an anchor for the Gwadar project. In 2019 the Saudi oil giant announced an agreement to build a $10 billion oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Gwadar. Pakistani officials viewed that facility as an anchor for their broader plans for Gwadar, but Aramco said this summer that it had decided to build its complex in Karachi instead.
Local news organizations speculated that Aramco’s decision was based on factors such as infrastructural deficiencies in Gwadar and Karachi’s closer proximity to logistics networks. Observers said the change in location for Aramco’s complex stole significant luster from the Gwadar initiative.
In addition to Hengmei’s grease plant, Pakistani officials say they have signed memorandums of understanding for several other facilities to be built in the Gwadar development zone, including a fertilizer plant, an animal vaccine factory, an agricultural industrial park and a trade exposition center.