Shrinking foreign reserves and higher energy import bill is making Pakistan consider all options with Moscow now offering to provide blended crude oil to Islamabad.
Media reports suggest that Russia made the offer of supplying blended crude oil during a virtual meeting Thursday as Pakistan lacks facilities to process one specification of the Russian oil.
The offer is a part of the 100,000 barrels per day crude oil supply being considered and comes just days after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said his country could send gas supplies to Pakistan and Afghanistan, either using the infrastructure of Central Asia, or in a swap from the territory of Iran.
Earlier, President Vladimir Putin had told Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in September that the supply of Russian gas to Pakistan was possible, with part of infrastructure ready, but there was an issue of stability in Afghanistan.
“The issue is about pipeline gas supplies from Russia to Pakistan, which is also possible, which means part of infrastructure has already been created, meaning Russia, Kazakhstan, [and] Uzbekistan. We have to solve the Afghan issue,” Putin said when speaking about energy projects.
“Of course, there are problems connected with political stability, but having in mind our mutually good relations with the Afghan people, I hope this problem can also be solved, I mean Pakistan’s influence on the situation in the country,” he added.
Overall, Moscow and Islamabad have other very interesting and ambitious projects, particularly in the energy sector, the Russian president noted. He also mentioned the Pakistani Stream project, which suggests the creation of infrastructure for supplies of liquefied natural gas.
And on Thursday, State Minister for Petroleum Dr Mussadik Malik and other officials informed their Russian counterparts that the country needed crude oil, petroleum products, gas and investment in infrastructure.
The Russian side told the Pakistani authorities that they were ready to work with them and would further deliberate upon it when a delegation from Russia would visit Pakistan next month.
However, the Pakistani authorities told them that the country’s refineries were hydro-skimming refineries and processed light crude oil. They added that they would be more interested in light crude oil to process it efficiently.
The Russian authorities said if the Pakistani refineries were not capable of processing one crude oil, they could provide them with blended crude oil.