Pakistan is “open" to the idea of buying oil at discounted rates from Russia if it does not result in international sanctions on the country, a media report on Wednesday quoted a minister as saying.
Pakistan’s fuel imports are expected to hit a four-year high in June, touching 7,00,000 tonnes, up from 6,30,000 last month, according to data from Refinitiv.
Speaking during a Geo News programme on Tuesday, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik said that Pakistan was "open to the idea of importing cheap oil from Russia".
The minister, however, said that Islamabad was willing to buy Russian oil at discounted rates, as long as “ensuring striking deals which would not result in any types of international sanctions on Pakistan.”
Malik also countered the previous Imran Khan-led government’s claims that they had signed an agreement with Russia “to purchase oil at an attractive 30 per cent discount,” and a letter was sent to Moscow on this issue.
“Since coming to power, the coalition government has tried following up on that letter with the Russian government, but we have not received any response so far,” the minister explained.
“We had signed an agreement with Russia to buy oil and wheat at discounted rates,” Khan, the 69-year-old cricketer-turned-politician who was ousted from power through a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April this year, had repeatedly said.
Malik's statement comes after Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had earlier this month reaffirmed that the country was open to the idea of buying oil at discounted rates from Russia as long as there would not be any restrictions in supply.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Energy Ministry has written to industrial experts --- managing directors of four refineries in the country --- asking them to submit a detailed analysis on importing Russian crude.
Following its invasion of Ukraine, there are now fewer buyers for Russia's Ural crude oil, with some foreign governments and companies deciding to shun Russian energy exports, and its price has fallen.
India's crude oil imports from Russia have jumped over 50 times since April and now make up for 10 per cent of all crude bought from overseas, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Russian oil made up for just 0.2 per cent of all oil imported by India prior to the Ukraine war.