Pak-Russia to sign low-cost oil accord in March: Musadik

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Thursday said Pakistan would sign an agreement with Russia in March to get inexpensive crude oil besides a ‘holistic energy security plan’ by the year-end, which would be beneficial for both countries.
“In March, all commercial terms of the agreement will be finalized with Russia, following which low-cost crude oil will start arriving in Pakistan. It will be beneficial for both countries,” he said while addressing a news conference here. Besides, the minister said a ‘holistic energy security plan’ between Pakistan and Russia would be completed by the year end, encompassing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and piped gas and other petroleum products.
He said there was another agreement under which Pakistan would be able to buy spot LNG cargoes from two companies identified by Russia, during the next winter season. Dr Musadik Malik said this year the government, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, made an effective winter-gas management plan that helped ensure better supply to domestic consumers as compared to the last 10 years.
He said there was no doubt that gas consumers faced difficulties due to gas shortage and low-gas pressure, but the government made utmost efforts to minimize their sufferings. The minister said the government was making all-out efforts to ensure the availability of cost-effective fuel throughout the year so that the wheel of the national economy could be moved at a faster pace.
He said the government wanted to provide jobs to educated youth, improved health and education facilities for the common man by achieving the required pace of economic growth coupled with the availability of affordable energy. Petroleum Minister Malik expressed confidence that around $ 12-15 billion foreign investment would be arriving in the country’s oil refineries during the coming months, and its detail would be shared in due course of time. “We are making efforts for attracting investment in the petroleum sector and ensuring energy security in the country”, he said.
He said the government was importing additional 20,000 tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) per month through Sui Southern Gas Company and PARCO Pearl Gas LPG to facilitate the public during the current winter season. He reminded that during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regime, only 20 percent of the LPG terminals’ total capacity was being utilized, which caused gas shortages during the last winter season.
Malik said Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited had been issued instructions to open LPG shops at the grassroots level to provide gas at the prescribed rate of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and discourage LPG-mafia. “We have imported 20,000 tons of LPG extra every month to discourage black marking and end monopoly of the private sector,” he added. To meet the energy demand, he said, the government had prepared a plan in October last to provide gas supply to the public during the current winter season.
Commenting on the prevailing political situation, Dr Musadik said it was unfortunate that the PTI government invoked article 5 of the Constitution against opposition leaders who had moved a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan in the National Assembly. The minister said the supreme leader of PML-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was disqualified for not getting salary from his son’s company.
He regretted that Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was not only removed from the slot of Prime Minister but also asked to leave the top slot of his party adding that Maryam Nawaz was awarded sentence of seven years on fake charges. Rana Sanaullah Khan was arrested on fabricated drug charges for being a critic of Imran Khan, he said. “Top leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-N has been put in jail on the fake charges by the PTI government,” he recalled. Dr Musadik Malik said the tradition of declaring someone a traitor and hurting his/her religious sentiments should come to an end, but advocated for legal action against the elements breaching the laws of the land.