Relief for masses on cards as Russian crude oil arrived in Pakistan: Minister

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ISLAMABAD, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik on Tuesday said the deal struck by Pakistan with Russia for crude oil import would help the government pass on financial relief to the masses who had been bearing brunt of inflation stemmed from the previous government’s flawed economic policies.

“This is the history since it is the first time that crude oil from Russia has been arrived in Pakistan,” the minister said while addressing a news conference here.

He refused to divulge details of the commercial terms of the oil deal with Russia due to agreements signed by both sides for confidentiality.

“I want to say to my political opponents that Russian oil has reached Pakistan, which will benefit the people, so at least congratulate the nation today,” he said while accusing the previous government of misleading the masses on the subject.

The PTI government, in fact, did not manage to get any oil deal with Russia which was also confirmed by the Russian government’s officials.

He said Pakistan had imported 100,000 tons of oil from Russia initially with plans to gradually increase the quantity over time as the country would meet its quarterly oil requirements through the utilization of Russian oil.

He said the previous regime had made baseless claims, suggesting that the PTI government’s attempt to import oil from Russia led to its alleged removal.

“If this is true then how we have imported oil from Russia successfully,” he questioned.

Musadik said the government wanted good relations with all countries including Russia, America, Europe, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and China as Pakistan was not part of any group.

He said that the government intended to ink a $10 billion contract, before the end of its tenure, so a new oil refinery could be established in Pakistan.

The minister said that Pakistan had also received a contract from Azerbaijan, which was available to the cabinet.

“Under the contract, the Central Asian country would provide Pakistan a distressed LNG cargo monthly. The LNG price would be much lower than in the international market,” he said.

The minister said that under the terms of the contract, it would be Pakistan’s prerogative to accept the cargo or not, but Azerbaijan would be obligated to provide distress cargo monthly.

He added that at the same time, the government had offered the European countries to establish LNG plants in Pakistan, therefore, Pakistan could become a transit route for gas transportation from Central Asian countries to Europe.

A delegation of officials from Turkmenistan arrived in Pakistan last week the minister said and added that “We signed a Joint Implementation Plan with them, they (Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf) had four years, but they didn’t sign any contract”.