At the Pakistan Energy Conference 2023, Minister of State for Petroleum, Musadik Malik, reassured the nation that the arrival of cheap oil from Russia would eventually lead to a decline in fuel prices. However, he cautioned that an immediate decrease should not be expected until a continuous supply of oil from Moscow is established.

Minister Malik said that the import of Russian oil was not merely a promise or rhetoric. He confirmed that ships carrying the much-anticipated oil had already reached Oman and would commence supply to Pakistan within a week. While acknowledging that a single shipment would not significantly impact fuel costs, Malik expressed confidence that once a persistent supply was established, the price of fuel would gradually decrease.

The government’s ambitious objective is to fulfill one-third of Pakistan’s crude oil requirements with affordable oil sources, including imports from Russia. The aim is to address the chronic energy shortages that Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country, has been grappling with. Currently, Pakistan imports 84 per cent of its petroleum products, primarily from Gulf Arab allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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The import of cheap Russian oil represents one of Pakistan’s strategies to alleviate its energy crisis, as global efforts are underway to restrict Russia’s oil exports due to its invasion of Ukraine. During a visit to the United States earlier this month, Minister Malik confirmed that Pakistan had placed its first order for Russian oil, which is expected to arrive within a month. Upon evaluating the impact of this initial shipment, Pakistan will decide on the extent of future imports.

When asked about the possibility of pursuing more Russian imports, Malik responded that Pakistan would prioritise cheaper energy sources to meet its energy requirements. The minister further emphasised that the government’s objective was to ensure a sustainable and affordable supply of low-cost energy, highlighting accessibility, sustainability, and affordability as the key pillars of this vision.

In addition to the import of Russian oil, Malik mentioned the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project as another avenue to address the country’s energy needs. The government has conveyed to Iran its intention to access energy through the pipeline while remaining responsible and avoiding potential sanctions. Talks are underway with both sanctioning countries and Iran to find a creative solution to this matter.

With Pakistan eagerly awaiting the arrival of cheap Russian oil, the government remains committed to securing a sustainable and affordable energy supply to meet the needs of its citizens. The gradual decline in fuel prices is expected to provide much-needed relief to the nation, addressing its chronic energy shortages and boosting economic growth in the process.