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PRL awaiting 120,000 tonnes crude cargoes from Russia, Saudi Arabia

By Tanveer Malik
June 08, 2023

KARACHI: Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) is set to receive 120,000 tonnes of crude oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia by the end of this week, The News learnt on Wednesday. According to oil industry sources, PRL is the first refinery to import crude oil from Russia, with 100,000 tonnes of crude oil on its way to Pakistan. “The import cargo of crude oil from Russia is slightly behind schedule; however, it is expected to reach Pakistan by the end of the week,” sources said.Apart from Russian crude oil, PRL would also receive 70,000 tonnes of crude oil from Saudi Arabia. This crude consignment is part of its normal import of crude oil. However, the sources said that both the imported consignments would be blended to produce petroleum products for the domestic market.

The reason for blending was that the refinery would not be able to process the Russian crude oil alone, it would be mixed with the crude from Saudi Arabia for the refining process, they added. Pakistani refineries have been going through a rough patch due to financial constraints brought on by import restrictions and other issues. It is expected that the use of Russian crude would help the refineries produce the much needed petroleum products at more economic rates. Pakistan had placed the first order to import crude oil from Russia in April and it was expected to arrive in the country by the end of May 2023; however, the arrival of the crude oil consignment was delayed.

It was pointed out by the officials, that the crude from Russia would be shipped on smaller ships from Oman. They said that the first cargo of 50,000 tons of Russian crude oil would arrive in a smaller vessel by the end of this week, while the remaining 50,000 tonnes would be arriving by the third week of this month. Islamabad entered into an arrangement with Russia for crude oil import after the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had announced to import crude oil along with gas and wheat from the country.

The end of PTI government in April last year put the matter in cold storage for some months and in November last year, both the governments restarted formal talks on the matter when State Minister for Petroleum Dr Mussadik Malik headed a delegation on a visit to Russia. Russian officials and companies had visited Pakistan in January this year to work out the modalities for this deal, which led to Pakistan placing the first order for Russian crude oil import in April this year. Pakistan imports 70 percent of crude oil, with the rest being produced domestically.