State Minister for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik and the petroleum secretary have flown to Russia for talks on issues including oil and gas supplies, two people close to the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The trip comes as the South Asian nation struggles to meet domestic gas supply needs as winter approaches while battling to contain a current account deficit swelled by energy payments, mostly for oil.
The state minister did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The sources provided no further details, such as the exact agenda, who the officials would meet in Russia or when the talks will take place.
On Thursday, The Express Tribune reported that a “breakthrough” on energy sector projects agreed between the two countries is expected in December.
The report stated that a way has been paved for the import of petroleum products, crude oil and gas from Russia, as refineries in Pakistan expressed their willingness to produce yields from Russian crude oil.
During the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan in September, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was told by Russian President Vladimir Putin that pipeline gas supplies to Pakistan were possible since part of the infrastructure was already in place.
In the meeting, PM Shehbaz said that Pakistan was committed to expanding cooperation with Russia across all areas of mutual benefit including food security, trade and investment, energy, defence and security.
Earlier this month, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had indicated that Pakistan overcame the United States’ opposition to the purchase of Russian oil and stressed that Islamabad intended to enter into the fuel import deal with Moscow on terms similar to those agreed by New Delhi. (with additional input from our correspondent)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2022.
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