Russia to sell crude oil to Pakistan at discounted rate, says Musadik

News Desk
Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Russia had decided, in principle, to provide crude oil, refined petrol and diesel to Pakistan at a discounted rate, said Dr Musadik Malik, the Minister of State for Petroleum, as he termed his recent visit to Moscow “very successful”.

An inter-governmental delegation of Russia, led by its energy minister, would visit Pakistan by mid-January [next month] to make progress on oil and gas sale-purchase agreements between the two countries, the minister told a news conference here on Monday.

In addition, the minister said, negotiations with Russia’s private sector companies had been initiated for the procurement of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), while talks for long-term contracts with Russia’s public sector companies had also been started to get LNG from their new plants.

Malik said during the visit, fruitful discussions were also held on gas pipeline projects, including the establishment of Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline, commonly known North-South (Lahore-Karachi) Gas Pipeline, and another “big gas pipeline” to get the commodity from Russian hydrocarbon deposits.

Commenting on the current gas supply situation in Pakistan, Malik said local gas production was witnessing around 8-10 per cent decline annually and despite all the odds, the government had arranged extra gas for the months of November, December and January as compared to the same months of the last year.

He said an effective monitoring system of gas supply to domestic consumers was in place, under which the Petroleum Division kept a vigil eye on the demand and supply of the commodity.

The minister said gas companies had been directed to ensure gas supply, especially during “breakfast, lunch and dinner” preparation timings i.e. 6-9 a.m., 12-2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.“The incumbent government is providing extra gas as compared to the last year, and monitoring the supply situation regularly,” he added. However, he said there was a problem of poor infrastructure which created a gas pressure issue for the remote areas, which was being rectified

on priority basis. To bridge demand and supply gap, the minister said the gas companies were providing more than 20,000 tons Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) per month in the areas where gas pressure issue and shortage prevailed.

He disclosed that Iran had announced it would give Pakistan two million pounds LPG in next ten days, for which all formalities had been completed. He said additional LPG would help ensure better gas supply to domestic consumers in December.

The minister was of the view that the government believed in providing sufficient energy to industrial sector as it would help move economic wheel at a fast pace, thus generating employment opportunities for youth and increasing the country’s exports.

Accordingly, he said the government was utilising all available options and contacting different countries, including Central Asian States to meet its energy requirements.

He highlighted the importance of exploiting the country’s indigenous oil and gas potential, saying that two new policies related to tight gas and revival of old hydrocarbon wells, were being worked out.

Malik said the country needed 8-10 per cent addition in energy efficiency, if it wanted to improve Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the rate of 5-6 per cent annually.