Pakistan has imported its first cargo of discounted Russian crude oil, which Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif described as “a transformative day”.  

“We are moving one step at a time toward prosperity, economic growth and energy security & affordability,” said Sharif in a tweet. “This is the first ever Russian oil cargo to Pakistan and the beginning of a new relationship between Pakistan and Russian Federation.” 

The oil, which arrived on Sunday, is due for discharge on 12 June. Following the implementation of sanctions by Ukrainian allies, Russia has turned to other countries as potential export markets. 

Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced in October last year that the country was considering buying discounted Russian oil, pointing to the fact that India had been buying Russian oil, so Pakistan too, “had a right [to do so]”. 

Pakistan made its first oil order in April under a deal between Islamabad and Moscow. Following the first transaction, imports are expected to reach 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) if the first deal is successful.  

Pakistan Refinery will refine the oil in the first instance, followed by Pak-Arab Refinery and others. 

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Pakistan is experiencing a period of economic crisis, worsening an ongoing energy shortage. The country has been forced to shut a number of power plants due to oil and gas shortages. Citizens have also been affected after restaurants and markets were forced to close under the energy conservation plan announced in January. 

Currently, 80% of Pakistan’s oil requirements are met by imports from Gulf and Arab suppliers including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This equates to 154,000bpd. 

Russia exported more oil in April than in any month since the invasion of Ukraine last year. Nonetheless, Russia’s federal budget revenue for oil and gas fell by 36% in May this year, when compared with the same period last year. Russian ministers have admitted that there is a problem with energy revenue.