State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik on Friday reiterated that Russia will provide Pakistan with crude oil at discounted rates.
Speaking at a press conference, Malik claimed that Russia will offer Pakistan crude at a discount, just like the energy giant does for other nations across the globe.
“It (the discount) could be greater than what others receive,” he added.
The remarks come a day after PBS Newshour journalist Amna Nawaz interviewed Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who said: “As far as Russia is concerned, we aren’t pursuing or receiving any discounted energy, but we are facing an extremely difficult economic situation.”
In response to a question on the $60 per barrel limit on Russian seaborne oil imposed by the Group of Seven and the EU in connection to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Bilawal said, “Up until now we actually haven’t received nor are we getting any oil from Russia.”
“As far as discounted rates, no one is giving discounted rates for oil these days,” Bilawal also told reporters at the United Nations. “That’s not a reality. It is true that we’re actively pursuing ways and means to address the energy shortfalls and difficulties we’re facing in Pakistan.”
Malik, who had earlier in the month claimed that Russia will supply cheaper oil, revealed on Friday that Pakistani refineries could process Russian crude, namely Siberian Light and Ural Light. Islamabad’s inability to obtain oil from Moscow is attributed to Pakistan’s refineries’ capacity to handle Russian crude.
“Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL), owned by Pakistan State Oil (PSO), told us that they could utilise up to 50 per cent light crude of Russian origin. Similarly, PARCO has told us that they could utilise up to 30 per cent of Russian crude.”
“Whereas, Cnergyico, the third largest oil refinery in the country, could not only process these two (Siberian Light and Ural Light) crudes but also heavy crudes as well.”
“We will get these light crudes from Russia on a discount,” added Malik.
Discounts on finished goods, such as gasoline and petrol, will also be discussed, the state minister added. The Russian delegation is expected to visit Pakistan in 2023.
According to DAWN, in the second week of January, there will be an Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) meeting between Pakistan and Russia. During the conference, the Russian energy minister is likely to visit.
In connection to the TAPI project, which “may offer us with 1.3bcf of gas,” Malik continued, the administration has also reestablished contacts with Turkmenistan.
“A special strategic cell has been established in the Ministry to follow up these projects,” he said.
On liquid natural gas (LNG), Malik said the government is working with Azerbaijan on a gas purchase framework agreement, which is being drafted. “Under this framework, we would have a government-to-government level agreement with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic, largely known as SOCAR,” he said.
“SOCAR will provide us with distressed cargoes on a monthly basis, and the Government of Pakistan would have the option to purchase these cargoes at given rates or not. “This will help us increase our gas supply,” he said.
The minister said that SOCAR has already offered Pakistan LNG cargo for December 14. “However, we were unable to purchase it as both our terminals were not available,” he said.
Additionally, the government is still working to come to an arrangement with the UAE that would allow for the purchase of diesel and petrol cargoes.
“I want to reiterate that the policies of the current government are meant to alleviate hardships of poverty-ridden masses,” said Malik.
He said that despite a 10 per cent yearly loss in gas reserves, the government is giving its people more gas this year than it did the year before. ”We will have an additional cargo of gas in the coming months of January and February, in comparison to the same period in 2022,” he said.
“We are also bringing in 20,000 tons LPG in addition to facilitate our consumers.”