Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 29 June 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Discounted Russian Oil Reaches Populous Pakistan
In June, Pakistan received its first-ever cargo of Russian crude oil in two batches containing 100,000 tons of oil each. Pakistan may use Chinese yuan to pay for discounted Russian crude oil, beneficial for the two countries. Energy cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad has just been inaugurated. Interestingly, the United States has accepted the idea of shipping Russian oil to energy-starved and dollar-strapped Pakistan.
During its long journey, the cargo of 100,000 tons of oil was split into two at Oman because the Karachi port was unable to handle the bigger ships. From Oman, the two smaller ships, carrying 50,000 tons of oil each, set sails for Karachi. The oil will be processed by the Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL). The oil shipment, which stands at $18 per barrel, comes at a time when the country has little in foreign reserves to cover regular energy imports. As of June 2, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves fell below $10 billion, according to the state’s central bank, while reserves stand at $4 billion, barely enough to cover a month’s worth of controlled imports. In April, the U.S. Department of State turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s purchases of Russian oil to save the country’s sinking economy. Energy imports make up the majority of Pakistan’s external payments. Pakistan’s purchase gives Moscow a new outlet to add to growing sales to India and China, as it redirects oil from Western markets because of the Ukraine conflict. Pakistan paid for its first government-to-government import of discounted Russian crude oil in Chinese currency, said Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik. Squeezed by sanctions, Russia decided to switch to Chinese or Emirati currencies to pay for energy commodities instead of dollars. The United States prohibited American dollar transactions with the Russian central bank, one of many sanctions imposed on Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.
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