Pakistan will hold talks with Russia next month on a long-term arrangement for importing Russian crude oil, as the country seeks to diversify its energy sources and cope with high prices of petroleum products, Report informs via The News.

A high-level delegation will attend an energy conference in Russia from Oct. 10 to Oct. 12, and meet with Russian officials on the sidelines to discuss energy cooperation, sources told The News.

“Pakistani side, to be headed by Energy Minister Muhammad Ali will hold a meeting with the Russian authorities on the side-lines of this conference on energy cooperation between the two countries,” the sources said.

Detailing the agenda of this visit of the Pakistani delegation, the sources disclosed that the delegation plans to discuss long-term supply of Russian crude oil to Pakistan, supply of LNG, as well as the North-South Gas pipeline project.

The Pakistani and Russian sides would be meeting for the first time on account of the energy sector after the first consignment of Russian crude oil arrived in Pakistan in June this year, following which the supply halted.

“In the last two and half months, no new order was placed for import of Russian crude oil as local refineries did not show any interest in importing Ural oil,” sources said.

The first shipment of Russian crude oil was imported by Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL). The PRL was the first and only refinery to process Ural oil in Pakistan. In the refining process, PRL was able to produce 60 percent of furnace oil, 10 percent of petrol and around 10-15 percent of diesel from the Russian crude.

Unfortunately, the import of Russian crude oil did not bring any relief in the prices for end consumers in the country, as it had no impact on overall prices of petroleum products.

However, sources pointed out that the crude oil imported from Russia was commercially viable for PRL as it earned significant profit by processing Ural. Sources said that Russian crude oil can only benefit when all the refineries start importing it on regular basis as just one refinery’s import would not make any difference in the consumer price of petroleum products in the country.

They said that one shipment would not serve the purpose and a long-term contract for the supply of Russian crude oil could help the country cope with the high prices of petroleum products.