ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s state minister for petroleum Dr. Musadik Malik said on Monday Russia had agreed to sell petroleum products to Pakistan at discounted rates.
The announcement comes after Malik and the petroleum secretary flew to Russia last month to hold talks on several issues, with oil and gas supplies deals topping the agenda.
The trip comes amid a domestic gas supply crisis in the South Asian country, aggravated because of winter. Pakistan is also battling to contain a current account deficit swelled by energy payments, mostly for oil.
Speaking at a presser in Islamabad, Malik said Pakistan would now be able to receive crude oil, petrol and diesel at lower prices.
“Our visit to Russia turned out to be more productive than we had anticipated as the country has agreed to provide us with petroleum products at affordable rates,” Malik said.
He added that Pakistan was also negotiating with private Russian countries to strike a possible LNG deal as well as holding talks with Russia’s state-owned LNG plants.
The minister said the Pakistani delegation had also spoken with Russian authorities about projects related to the installation of gas pipelines.
Answering a question related to the ongoing gas supply crisis in the country, the junior oil minister said he had issued instructions to ensure the supply of gas to homes during morning hours and meal-preparation times.
He said state-owned Sui Southern Gas Company was trying its best to manage the load during the winter season.
“In remote areas of the country where SSGC cannot supply gas, the government is providing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) there to meet the shortage,” he said, adding that as compared to December 2021, more gas was being supplied to different parts of the country this year.
“We are importing 20,000 tons of LPG per month to meet the country’s needs, while Iran has also announced that it would provide 2 million pounds of LPG to Pakistan ... in the next 10 days,” Malik said.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last month said the country was considering buying discounted Russian oil, pointing out that neighbor India was purchasing oil from Moscow and Islamabad also had the right to explore the possibility.
Pakistan has been unable to procure Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from the international market because spot prices remain out of its range and shipments under long-term deals remain insufficient to match rising demand.