ISLAMABAD: Pakistan-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) would arrive in January 2023 for negotiation on Russian discounted crude and discounted refined petroleum products, said Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik on Friday.

While addressing a press conference, he said the delegation from Russia would be headed by the energy minister and talks (with Russia on crude) would be resumed. The delegation would arrive following Musadik Malik’s Russia visit last month.

Malik said, “A meeting of IGC has been proposed to be held in the second week of January”. A special strategic cell was established in the Petroleum Ministry which would be responsible for ensuring the implementation of any agreements. “Our strategic cell will fulfil all the requirements so that supply of crude oil will be started by the end of the first quarter,” he said.

Earlier, in an interview, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that Pakistan was not pursuing or receiving any discounted energy from Russia. Responding to a question about the foreign minister’s statement, Malik said that it was correct Pakistan was not currently buying any oil from Russia.

Russia to provide crude oil to Pakistan at discounted rates: Musadik Malik

However, he said that since it was the Petroleum Division’s responsibility to hold meetings with the refineries and understand the blending process, it would share the details with the Foreign Ministry to “clear confusion”. For this, a list of refineries and the names of the types of crude oil would be sent to the Foreign Ministry, he maintained.

Malik asserted that his ministry was ready to “clear any confusion” and had only continued talks with Russia after confirming with refineries that they would be able to use the imported crude oil.

Russia had eight different types of crudes. Pakistan Refinery Ltd has the capacity to use up to 50 per cent light crude oil of Russia. Pak-Arab Refinery Limited can use up to 30 percent and Cenergyico can use the two types of light crude oil but also the other six types of crude oil.

In addition, Pakistan is about to sign a trade agreement with Azerbaijan on LNG after which Pakistan would have the capacity to buy any distressed cargo throughout the world at cheap rates, the minister shared. The minister of state for petroleum said that they are working on a framework of an agreement with Azerbaijan regarding gas, and they are trying to get one LNG cargo in January. “A LNG cargo from Azerbaijan was available on December 14, 2022, but could not avail as LNG terminal was busy at that time”, he said.

The minister said Pakistan was also trying to sign a government-to-government agreement with the United Arab Emirates through which Pakistan would get finished petroleum products.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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