Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik and the petroleum secretary have flown to Russia to hold talks over oil and gas, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Monday on the condition of anonymity.

The trip comes as the country struggles to meet domestic gas supply demands as winter approaches while battling to contain a current account deficit swelled by energy payments, mostly for oil.

Ishaq Dar, the federal minister of finance, had already stated that the delegation will discuss an oil contract with Moscow.

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“We should pray the visit is successful and the government manages to secure a deal on favourable terms and conditions,” Dar said during an interview.

Given the sharp rise in the cost of energy commodities in recent months, buying Russian oil at lower prices has gained popularity. This has been difficult, especially for emerging economies like Pakistan, whose energy requirements are mostly met by imports of petroleum.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said that during the first four months of the current fiscal year, Pakistan imported petroleum products worth $7.547 billion.

Dar had earlier stated, speaking to a crowd in Dubai on November 13, that Islamabad hoped to clinch an import pact with Moscow on conditions comparable to those of New Delhi. He said that Pakistan could purchase oil from Russia since India was doing the same, and the US had been informed of this.