Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 16 December 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Russia To Sell Petroleum Products To Pakistan Amid Saudi Fears
As the European Union introduced a ban on Russian oil, Moscow is diverting its crude from Europe to Asia. Now Russia will sell its crude to Pakistan. Moscow’s recent moves have deepened Saudi Arabia’s anxiety as the country has been the biggest oil supplier regionwide.
Pakistan said that Russia had decided to export crude oil, gasoline, and diesel to the South Asian nation at discounted prices. Deputy Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik shared the details at a news conference in Islamabad after visiting Moscow last week where he met with his Russian counterparts. “The discounted rate will be the same as the rate being offered to other countries in the world,” Malik asserted. Malik said Pakistan was also interested in buying liquefied natural gas, or LNG, but that Russian state-owned companies’ supplies of the product are tight at present. Russia is in the process of installing new production units and has invited Pakistan to initiate talks on long-term contracts to buy LNG. Pakistan is yet another Asian state to purchase Russian-sourced hydrocarbons. Moscow will need to find new markets if it is to remain an oil and gas superpower, but its options are limited and include mostly Asian nations––to the great concern of Saudi Arabia. In October, Russia became India’s top oil supplier, edging past the traditionally dominant supplier Saudi Arabia. India has become the second most important market for Saudi oil exports – after China. In Europe, Saudi oil is filling Russia’s void. Russia’s fossil fuel exports to the EU have seen a consistent decrease since Moscow invaded Ukraine. In addition, the European Union banned all seaborne Russian crude imports from December 5 so Moscow had no choice but to redirect its oil flows to India, China, and Turkey. In a nutshell, Russia and Saudi Arabia––top OPEC+ states––have traded places in the market. Riyadh seems to be making more money as EU nations are in a desperate situation and thus are ready to pay more for oil. Russia has been selling oil to Asian nations at a discounted rate. Eventually, Russian could reap benefits to the detriment of Saudi Arabia. Europe has vowed to cut its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, unlike emerging Asian markets. Saudi Arabia does not want to be losing market share in the big growth markets of Asia. Saudi Arabia cut its January selling price for oil in Asia, a sign of concern about weak demand in the market, but also the potential for increased competition with Russia and a decline in global oil prices. Saudi Arabia is right to frown upon Russia as Moscow has pledged to cut oil output under an OPEC+ deal, raising the ire of Washington. This gives Russia money for its war in Ukraine while slashing revenues to the Saudi budget. How long will Saudi Arabia keep quiet about lower Russian oil prices?
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