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'Russia will give us oil on cheap rates', Malik rejects Bilawal's claim

"I haven’t watched Bilawal’s detailed interview," says petroleum minister

By Web Desk
December 16, 2022

Minister of State for the Petroleum Division Musadik Masood Malik addressing a press conference in Islamabad on December 5, 2022. — Courtesy PID
Minister of State for the Petroleum Division Musadik Masood Malik addressing a press conference in Islamabad on December 5, 2022. — Courtesy PID

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik has rejected the claim made by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, insisting that Russia will give Pakistan oil at discounted rates.

Commenting on FM Bilawal’s statement, which came in an interview with PBS NewsHour, about not pursuing or receiving discounted energy from Russia, the minister said that the foreign minister is right.

“At this time, we are really not taking any oil from Russia, however, I haven’t watched Bilawal Bhutto’s detailed interview,” he said at a press conference in Islamabad.

Malik said that the process of getting cheaper oil from Russia is moving ahead. “Details of matters in this regard, which have been agreed with Russia, will be handed over to the foreign ministry so that there isn’t any ambiguity."

Bilawal's comment came just a few days after his cabinet colleague Malik had claimed that Pakistan is seeking oil at discounted rates from the energy-rich country.

"It is our responsibility to take the Ministry of Foreign Affairs onboard. Our ministry needs to do extra work on this issue,” he added.

The minister said that talks with Russia were held, only after discussions with Pakistan’s refineries. Malik added that crude oil will help reduce the cost of energy in the country and it will be possible to refine two types of Russian crude oil in Pakistan’s refineries — Sokol and Eurol.

The minister of state said that an impression of Pakistan defaulting is being spread, even though nothing as such is happening. The Asian Development Bank wouldn’t be signing agreements with us if that would have been the case.

The state minister said that the ministry has told gas companies to not reduce pressure during mealtimes including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, the minister said that it doesn’t mean there won’t be gas other than these times.

“We have told the companies that gas pressure can be reduced outside these hours, but it has to be increased during mealtimes."

The minister of state for petroleum said that they are working on a framework of an agreement with Azerbaijan regarding gas, and they are trying to get one LNG cargo in January.

Compared to last year, there will be one additional cargo each in January and February, he said.

On December 5, Malik, after visiting Moscow, had claimed that Russia agreed to provide crude oil as well as petrol and diesel to Pakistan at discounted rates.

But Malik insisted in the press conference today that Russian officials had said they would give cheap crude oil, diesel and petrol to Pakistan and that Russia would only give the same kind of concessions that it gives the rest of the world.

He said after Pakistan receives discounted oil from Russia, it will help lower energy prices.

“When the energy cost goes down, the cost of transport and manufacturing will go down … consequently, the price of every item in a shop will go down. This is the prime minister’s vision,” he said.