ISLAMABAD: Russia has agreed to provide Pakistan with crude oil at a discount. Further, the country is finalizing an agreement to import two million pounds of gas from Iran.

This was disclosed by Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik during a press conference in Islamabad on Monday afternoon. Malik said that based on Pakistan’s population growth rate and the number of people who enter the job market annually, Pakistan needs an economic growth rate at around five to six percent annually. For this, the annual need for energy increases by six to eight percent which needs to be bridged. Malik, who recently concluded a week-long trip to Russia, said that they had spoken to both government and private energy suppliers. He said that Russia had agreed to provide Pakistan crude oil at a discount. Moreover, he said that Moscow was willing to expand energy cooperation with Pakistan, including construction of a pipeline. In this regard, discussions were held on new projects and on reviving old projects. On the provision of gas, he said that Moscow helped arranged meetings with private firms dealing in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for acquiring stocks. Talks have also been initiated on government-to-government contracts on gas supply. Malik said that the Russian energy minister is expected to visit Pakistan in the middle of January when key agreements would be signed. Malik said that Pakistan’s indigenous stocks of gas deplete around 8-10% annually for winter. He added that they have a greater stock of gas available this December and January than last year and it is being supplied. He added that he and the petroleum ministry secretary are constantly monitoring the flow of gas daily. He added that private companies are also importing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), including Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to great success. Apart from private companies, he said that the government is in the final phases of brokering a deal for importing 2 million pounds of additional gas from Iran and will be available in the coming weeks. (Agencies)

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