Pakistan, Russia okay Trade deals

-Moscow says Pakistan to pay for Russian Energy purchases in ‘currency of friendly countries’
-Musadik announces imports of Russian Oil to start from March
-Adds Pakistan wants to import 35% of its total crude oil requirement from Russia
-Reveals Russia does not have LNG for Pakistan currently

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will pay for energy purchases from Russia — when they start in late March — in “currencies of friendly countries”, a top Russian energy ministry official said on Friday during a press briefing.
The statement comes during the eighth session of the Pakistan-Russia Intergovernmental Commission held in Islama-bad Friday, which was co-chaired by Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Russia’s Energy Minister Niko-lay Shulginov. Shulginov also said that the two countries have agreed on late March as the timeline for crude oil export to Pakistan.
A Russian delegation led by Shulginov is currently visiting Islamabad to discuss ways for improving bilateral economic and trade relations, with the focus mainly on the provision of oil and gas to Pakistan at discounted rates — as an-nounced by Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik last month.
In a joint statement released yesterday, both countries agreed the “oil and gas trade transaction will be structured in a way it has [a] mutual economic benefit for both countries”, adding that the process would be completed within March 2023.
The countries signed an agreement on custom matters, a protocol on the exchange of documents and data on the customs value of goods transported between the countries, and a working agreement on aeronautical products.
The statement further said, “Both sides have agreed to work on a ‘Comprehensive Plan for Energy Cooperation’, which would form the foundation for future work and is to be finalized in 2023.”
Regarding the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project (PSGPP), both sides agreed to consider it in terms of a “compre-hensive infrastructure, which is economically viable for sustainable gas infrastructure development ensuring afforda-ble gas supplies”.
The joint statement stated both countries discussed “innovative ways of doing business, including through barter” and agreed to explore the option further.
They also agreed to share information towards developing and improving rail and road infrastructure while nominating focal persons from both sides to discuss issues concerning connectivity and logistics in Central and South Asia.
Pakistan and Russia on Thursday “finalised consultations” to enhance cooperation in areas of mutual interests — a day after they discussed ways for supplying oil and gas to Pakistan on a “long-term” basis.
The consultations were held in Islamabad between both countries’ energy ministers and other government officials on the second day of the eighth meeting of the Inter-governmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation of Pakistan and Russia.
The visiting delegation had also called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore on Wednesday, where “views were exchanged on supplying oil and gas from Russia to Pakistan on a long-term basis”, a statement from the Prime Minis-ter’s Office (PMO) said.
The series of talks follow the claim by Malik last month that Russia had agreed to provide oil to Pakistan at discounted rates to meet the country’s rising domestic and industrial energy demands.
Pakistan would purchase crude oil, petrol and diesel from Russia at discounted rates, he had said. The vow had come after a Pakistani delegation led by Malik visited Moscow in late November last year to initiate talks for the procure-ment of oil and gas at discounted prices.
The draft protocol finalised during today’s meeting would be agreed upon and signed at the meeting’s plenary session to be held tomorrow.
It further said Russia opined that significant progress has been made in various areas, which would ultimately pave the way for deepening and strengthening relations between Pakistan and Russia.
During the meeting on Wednesday, Shulginov had also delivered a “special message” from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the premier.
In his message, according to the PMO statement, Putin had said that Russia considers Pakistan as its “important” part-ner in South Asia and the Islamic world and reiterated Moscow’s strong interest in deepening the bilateral relation-ship.