Documents debunk Imran Khan’s claim about Russia’s cheap fuel offer

May 24, 2022

The Petroleum Division had also written a letter to the foreign affairs ministry asking if Russia had offered any discounted tariff of of LNG and fuel products

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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Moscow, Russia on February 24. Courtesy Kremlin

ISLAMABAD: There is no documentary evidence in the petroleum division of Russian offer of cheap LNG, crude oil and POL products as repeatedly claimed by former premier Imran Khan.

This was stated by Syed Zakria Ali Shah, Joint Secretary Development and a spokesman for the Petroleum Division, while talking to this reporter.

Sources at the petroleum division claimed trade of crude oil, POL products and LNG was not even on agenda during Imran Khan’s had discussed the import of LNG, but there was no mention in the minutes of the meeting of any Russian offer of providing LNG and fuel at 30 percent discounted rate.

The spokesman said the government had written letters to Russia on March 30 through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with reference to the February 2022, visit of a Pakistan delegation mentioning Pakistan’s keenness to enter long-term agreements on import of crude, POL products and LNG at concessional rates.

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The Petroleum Division had also written a letter to the foreign affairs ministry asking if Russia had offered any discounted tariff of of LNG and fuel products. To this effect, he said, it had also sent two reminders in first week of April 2022, but the ministry said it didn’t receive any letter from Russia for dialogue in this regard.

Former energy minister Hammad Azhar had through a letter dated March 30, 2022, drawn attention of his Russian counterpart to an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), which was in force between the two friendly countries since 2017 on cooperation in the sphere of LNG. The Russian minister was informed that Pakistan was eager to enhance its relationship by fast-tracking the negotiations between the two nominated entities so that a long-term agreement for supply of LNG on a G2G basis was agreed at the earliest.

Then energy minister had proposed supply of two to three Russian cargoes of LNG per month, each cargo containing 140,000 cubic meters of LNG.

In that letter, there was no mention of any offer by Russia except seeking dialogue on a long-term contract for import of fuel and LNG at concessional rate.

Officials at the energy ministry were also of the view that as far as import of fuel by India was concerned, it was importing crude oil from Russia for decades and it continued to import it from Russia despite EU, US sanctions because of its war against Ukraine. They said India’s foreign policy was highly independent because of its strong economic muscle and its captivating market for big economies.

They also said that India had also managed a special waiver from the US against its sanctions on Iran and had since long been importing crude oil and POL products from Iran despite US and UN sanctions. They said that India was a strategic partner of the US in the region against China.

“India always pitches its argument before the US saying if it does not import fuel from Iran, its economy will hurt and it will never be on a par with China. As far as Pakistan is concerned, it is not possible to import crude oil, POL products and LNG at discounted rate even in the wake of EU and US sanctions on Russia, as the country's economic muscle is very weak and the country is always dependent on the IMF programme.” The officials said that Pakistan had also failed to complete the IP gas line project just because of US and UN sanctions on Iran.

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