Pakistan will receive its first shipment of Russian oil in May, Musadik Malik, the country’s minister of petroleum has said. Since then-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow last year, Pakistan has discussed the possibility of importing Russian oil, especially as neighbor India has emerged as a top buyer of discounted Russian fuel.
With the Russian oil price cap in place, Pakistan is now moving forward with buying Russian oil. Russia could emerge as Pakistan’s top source of oil, supplanting Gulf Arab states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
It’s unclear whether Islamabad has the cash to pay for Russian oil, given the balance of payments crisis.
The International Monetary Fund has been pressing Islamabad to cut fuel subsidies. While subsidy cuts are necessary, they will add to Pakistan’s inflation woes. Discounted Russian oil could help ease sky-high inflation in Pakistan, which is now above 30%.
Despite being a net importer of fuel, petrol or gasoline prices in Pakistan are lower than that of Bangladesh, China, and Turkey at 282 Pakistani rupees per liter or $3.81 per gallon.
By comparison, the average price of a gallon of gas in the United States is currently $3.64. Hong Kong has the world’s most expensive gas prices at over $11 a gallon.