Cheap oil imported from Russia would arrive in the country soon, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif revealed in the National Assembly Thursday.
Responding to claims of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that the incumbent government took power through a foreign-backed conspiracy, the premier said if that was the case, his government would not have imported Russian oil.
Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik had told Reuters last week that the government had made its first purchase of Russian crude oil, and a cargo would dock at Karachi port in May.
The minister said the country would seek to import 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Russian crude oil if the first transaction went smoothly.
Initially, the Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) would refine the crude oil in a trial run, to be followed later by Pak-Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) and other refineries.
The country imported 154,000 bpd of oil in 2022, mostly from two Middle Eastern countries — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. If Russian imports reach 100,000 bpd, it would mean a significant plunge in imports from the Gulf states.
A source in Moscow who is familiar with the negotiations between Pakistan and Russia told the foreign news agency that the final deal was reached in recent days.
The Russian government did not respond to a request for comment.
Major Russian oil companies have discussed the possible supply of oil to Pakistan over recent months, two trading sources familiar with the talks said but declined to disclose the names of possible suppliers. One of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia plans to supply Urals crude to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s purchase gives Russia a new outlet, adding to Moscow’s growing sales to India and China, as it redirects oil from Western markets because of the Ukraine conflict.