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International relations

Pakistan eyes economic relief from Russian oil imports due in May

Delicate diplomacy, refining capacity and forex payments pose challenges

An oil tanker and bulk carrier are seen near the Russian port of Nakhodka in December.   © Reuters

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan is poised to import oil from Russia, with the first order expected to be unloaded in May, in a move that promises to save the cash-strapped country money but also raises several questions and challenges.

Pakistan placed the order this month, according to Musadik Malik, the minister of state for petroleum. The imported oil will initially be refined by Pakistan Refinery, which is owned by the government. If all goes well, the intention is to ramp up imports to 100,000 barrels per day, making up two-thirds of Pakistan's total oil purchases.

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