The Ministry of Energy has requested industrial experts and refineries to submit an analysis for importing Russian crude oil, as the country seeks to acquire the commodity at a discounted rate amid a financial crunch.
Pakistan’s monthly fuel oil imports are set to hit a four-year high in June, Refinitiv data showed.
The country’s fuel oil imports could hike to around 700,000 tonnes this month, after hitting 630,000 tonnes in May, as per Refinitiv estimates. Imports last topped at 680,000 tonnes in May 2018 and 741,000 tonnes in June 2017.
In a letter issued to the managing directors of National Refinery, Pakistan Refinery, Pak-Arab Refinery, and Byco Petroleum, the ministry ordered them to submit the following analysis:
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- Technical sustainability of crude grades considering each refinery configuration and yield (Vol%).
- Quantity and grade of the subject crude to be necessary by the refinery.
- Transportation/freight investigation for imports from Russia as compared with normal imports from the Middle East, based on cost and benefit analysis.
- Payment methodology
- Existing commitment to uplifting from the Arab Gulf region regarding term contracts.
Speaking on a talk show, Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik said that Pakistan was “open to the idea of importing cheap Russian crude oil”.
He said that as against the former PTI government’s claim in this regard, there were no official contracts between the two states regarding the import of cheap oil, though, a letter was sent to Russia by the PTI government.
“Since coming to power, the coalition government has tried following up on the letter but has so far received no response from Russia,” he added.
Earlier this month, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that Western sanctions have made importing oil from Moscow impossible regardless of the Pakistani government’s request to purchase wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
The minister had also said that Pakistan would certainly consider if Russia offers oil trade at economical rates as there are no constraints on buying the supply.
Meanwhile, former finance minister and senior PTI leader Shaukat Tarin also stated that the Shehbaz-led government “should have purchased cheap Russian crude oil” as the last PTI government had already written a letter in this regard.