- Russian energy minister says both countries have agreed on late March as timeline for crude oil export to Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will pay for crude oil purchases from Russia likely to begin in late March, in currencies of friendly countries, Russia’s Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov said on Friday.
Shulginov is in Islamabad for an annual inter-governmental commission on trade and economy between Pakistan and Russia.
“We have agreed that the payments will be made in the currencies of friendly countries,” he said at a joint news conference with Pakistan’s Economic Affairs Minister Ayaz Sadiq.
He did not specify the ‘friendly countries’ and neither of the two ministers gave details on the size of the planned purchases.
Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik separately said Islamabad wants to import 35% of its total crude oil requirement from Russia.
Russia’s Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov also said that the two countries have agreed on late March as the timeline for crude oil export to Pakistan.
Shulginov stated that the oil and gas trade between Russia and Pakistan “will be structured in a way that it is mutually beneficial for both countries”.
At the conclusion of the 8th session of the three-day Pakistan Russia Inter Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical cooperation, Shulginov said the process for energy trade will be completed in late March.
“Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, energy, communication and transport, customs, higher education, agriculture, science and IT,” he said. “Concrete projects in the mentioned sectors will be established.”
Pakistan and Russia also signed a bilateral agreement to set up import-based industries and sharing customs data. The two sides also signed agreements related to the aviation sector. Details of the agreements were not announced during the press briefing.
Speaking ahead of the joint briefing, Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq had said that “a few agreements of mutual cooperation would be signed and some of them were in the pipeline”.
“Follow up of these developments is going to be a key factor in implementation of these projects,” he said.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with Russia’s energy minister, discussing the possibility of Moscow supplying oil and gas to the South Asian nation.
“Both sides agreed on the importance of (the) energy sector for the development of bilateral economic and trade relations,” read the Prime Minister’s Office statement. “In this regard views were exchanged on supplying oil and gas from Russia to Pakistan on a long term basis.”
Last year, Pakistan sent officials to Russia, after which State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik said Moscow would sell crude oil at a discounted rate.
Oil and energy make up the largest portion of Pakistan’s imports bill and the country is struggling with a balance of payments crises due to dwindling foreign reserves.
Meanwhile, the South Asian nation has been unable to procure liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the international market because of high spot prices, adding to its ongoing energy woes.
With dwindling local gas reserves, the country has begun to ration supplies to residential and commercial consumers.
Earlier it was learnt that the country currently has stocks of around 30 days of diesel (HSD) and 18 days of petrol. Then there are plans for imports by refineries and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) – the Letters of Credit (LCs) are opened for another 15-20 days. This would mean the country is covered by 4-5 weeks of petrol and 6-7 weeks of HSD.