Pakistan to place first order to import discounted Russian oil this month

Pakistan to place first order to import discounted Russian oil this month
“We have resolved problems around the (Saudi oil) refinery project,” said Dr. Musadik Malik, Pakistan’s state minister for petroleum.
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Updated 14 April 2023

Pakistan to place first order to import discounted Russian oil this month

Pakistan to place first order to import discounted Russian oil this month

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s State Minister for Petroleum Dr. Musadik Malik said on Wednesday that Islamabad would place its first order to import Russian crude oil at a “big discount” this month, as the country looks for cheaper fuel options amid macroeconomic challenges while trying to finalize an oil refinery project with Saudi Arabia.

Russia agreed in principle to supply crude oil and oil products to cash-strapped Pakistan at cheaper rates this year and signed several memoranda of understanding with the country’s Energy Ministry.

Islamabad’s energy imports during the last fiscal year were valued at $23.3 billion, constituting 29 percent of the country’s total imports. During the current fiscal year, Islamabad has already imported energy products worth $7.7 billion, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Pakistan’s desire to look for cheaper sources of energy has been fueled by its crippling economic crisis after its official forex reserves dipped below $5 billion and its national currency underwent massive devaluation.

Recently, representatives from state-owned oil companies of both Pakistan and Russia met in the southern port city of Karachi to conclude discussions on oil trade between the two countries.

“Hopefully, within this month, we will put out an order, and very soon, we will have the first shipment coming,” Malik told Arab News
in an interview.

Asked if the discounted price would be below the $60 per barrel price cap imposed by G7 countries to hurt Russia’s oil income, he
said: “Obviously, if there is no discount, then what interest would Pakistan have in procuring the oil? So, very clearly, it would be at discounted prices.”

The minister said Pakistan and Russia had both taken care of
most of the contractual issues and were now finalizing the terms and conditions of the deal.

“The commercial details (will be finalized) in a week or so, and then we will place the order. Obviously, it would be a big discount,” he said, adding that Islamabad wanted to conduct its business in a transparent manner.

On a question about the capacity of Pakistan’s refineries to process Russian crude oil, Malik said the Petroleum Ministry had
discussed the issue with Pakistan Refinery Ltd. and Pak-Arab Refinery Co. Ltd.

“PRL had indicated that they can use one-third to 50 percent of its crude of light Russian origin,” he said. “We have also spoken with PARCO and they have indicated that they can include about one-third or about 33 percent of the Russian light crude into its cocktail.”

Additionally, the minister said private sector companies had also expressed interest in importing up to 80 percent of Russian crude oil.

Saudi oil refinery project

On the Saudi oil refinery project, the minister said Pakistan was working closely with the Kingdom and the delegations of both countries had met multiple times in the past to discuss the modalities of the project.

“We have resolved problems around the refinery project,” he said. “We went to Saudi Arabia (for this) and we also met the Saudi team in Abu Dhabi.”

“Right now, the new refinery policy is with the Cabinet and in a couple of weeks it will be finalized and we will reengage with Saudi Arabia. We are really looking forward to it,” he added.