Pakistan places first order for discounted Russian crude

Pakistan has placed its first order for discounted Russian crude oil under a new deal struck between Islamabad and Moscow, State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik has said.
The deal will see Pakistan buy crude oil only, not refined fuels, and imports are expected to reach 100,000 barrels per day if the first transaction goes through smoothly, Minister Musadik Malik said in an interview on Wednesday night.
He said Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) will initially refine the Russian crude, with other refineries to be included later after a trial run.
Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov led a delegation to Islamabad in January to hold talks on the deal, after which he said oil exports to Pakistan could begin after March.
At the time, Shulginov also said Pakistan will pay for crude oil purchases in currencies of friendly countries.
“We have agreed that the payments will be made in the currencies of friendly countries,” he had said at a joint news conference with Pakistan’s Economic Affairs Minister Ayaz Sadiq in January.
He did not specify the ‘friendly countries’ and neither of the two ministers gave details on the size of the planned purchases.
Earlier, Malik had said that crude oil supply from Russia to Pakistan will start by the end of this month.
He had also assured that domestic gas consumers of Karachi will get adequate gas supply during Sehri and Iftari timings.
In his media talk after convening a meeting with business community at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Musadik had said negotiations with Russia are going forward on a fast track basis, and the first cargo shipment will reach Pakistan by the end of April.