New Delhi: Russia has declined to give Pakistan a 30 to 40 per cent discount on crude oil and said it cannot offer anything at the moment because “all volumes were committed”, according to a report by The News Thursday.
A Pakistani delegation, led by its State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik, was on a three-day visit to Moscow on 29 November to discuss issues such as the import of crude oil at discounted price, mode of payment, and shipment costs.
However, the talks did not end on a conclusive note, with the Russian side saying they will consider Pakistan’s demand and convey their decision via diplomatic channels, the report said.
The News also cited sources to say that Russia can offer crude oil to Pakistan at rates it provides to large client countries, which are reliable and sound economies, and at a suitable time. Moscow also said all its volumes were committed to big buyers currently.
The report further noted that Russia has asked Pakistan to first honour its commitment to the joint project named Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline — to be laid down from Karachi to Lahore. During their talks in Moscow, Pakistan, however, said it wanted to change the project’s model.
Russia, meanwhile, claimed the project’s model, under the shareholding GtG (government to government) arrangement, had already been finalised and only some clauses were left for agreement, said the report.
Fuel deal similar to India
Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had on 13 November said the US cannot stop Islamabad from purchasing Russian oil. He also said that Islamabad intended to enter into the fuel import deal with Moscow on terms similar to those agreed for New Delhi.
On 30 November, the US State Department said it has no objection to Russian crude oil imports by Pakistan.
America also said it does not have sanctions in place against Russian energy exports to other countries and that it was aware of the Pakistani delegation’s visit to Moscow.
“We recognise the pressure that governments are facing to secure affordable fuel supplies…We have been very clear that each country will have to make its own choices, based on its own circumstances, in terms of energy imports,” the department was quoted as saying.
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