State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik announced on Monday that Russia has decided to provide crude oil, petrol, and diesel to Pakistan at discounted rates.
The decision comes a month after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the country is considering buying discounted Russian oil, pointing out that neighbour India has been purchasing oil from Moscow and Islamabad also has a right to explore the possibility.
Subsequently, Malik flew to Russia last week for talks on issues including oil and gas supplies.
Pakistan struggles to meet domestic gas supply needs as winter approaches while battling to contain a current account deficit swelled by energy payments, mostly for oil.
In a press conference in Islamabad today, Malik said: “Our visit to Russia turned out to be more productive than expected.”
“Russia has decided to provide Pakistan crude at discounted rates […] this is the oil that refineries use to produce diesel and petrol […]. Russia will also give petrol and diesel to Pakistan at lower prices,” he announced.
Malik went on to say that Russia was short on liquefied natural gas (LNG) because of “international pressure”. “So they arranged a meeting of ours with some private companies, that were a part of their delegation […] our talks with them [the companies] have now begun.
“The Russian government is setting up new factories for the production of LNG and they have invited Pakistan to begin talks on long-term contracts for 2025 and 2026,” the minister said.
He also revealed that Russia was “very interested” in pipeline gas supplies to Pakistan and talks between the countries regarding two projects — Pakistan Stream (north-south pipelines) and another big pipeline (for internationally piped gas) had begun.
“We requested them for some flexibility because Pakistan has many constraints […] we told them we are committed to the agreements but we want some flexibility,” he told the press conference.
Malik added that an inter-governmental delegation from Russia would be visiting Pakistan in January next year. “We will try that all these things that I have kept in front of you will be transformed into a proper agreement by then and could be signed.”
The minister also said that Iran had decided to donate £2 million of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Pakistan and negotiations with the neighbouring country had been completed.
“It will reach the country within the next 10 days,” he said.
Malik added that to counter gas shortages during winter, the government had directed local LPG companies to increase their distribution, especially in areas where shortages persist.
“Twenty state companies — such as SSGC, PSO, and SNGPL — are importing 20,000 tonnes of LPG every month to increase distribution,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar approved the import of 450,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia on a government-to-government (G2G) basis.
According to a press release issued by the Finance Division, the decision was taken during a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet.
It stated that the ECC has granted approval of the offer of M/s Prodintorg — a state-owned enterprise of the Russian Federation Russia — on a G2G basis at US$ 372/tonne for the supply of 450,000 tonnes at Gwadar Port for a shipment period from February 1, 2023, to March 31, 2023.
“The ECC has also approved the lowest bid from M/s Cereal Crop Trading LLC @ US$ 372/MT for the supply of 130,000 MT at Karachi ports for the shipment period from December 16, 2022, to February 8, 2023,” the press release added.
It concluded that any additional cost on inland transportation from Gwadar Port will be borne by the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation and will be recovered from provinces at the time of the release of wheat stock.