According to a senior official, a Russian cargo ship carrying 100,000 tonnes of crude oil is behind schedule and will now arrive in the Omani port of Duqm on June 7.
The oil would be transferred to Pakistan through smaller ships from the Omani port, taking around two weeks to reach Port Qasim in Karachi, according to the official. Pakistan had expected the Russian ship to arrive in Oman on May 27-28.
“The vessel, which was loaded with Ural crude on April 21 at a Russian port, was delayed for 10 days due to technical reasons,” according to the official. “It then arrived at Egypt’s Suez Canal on May 17, where it waited for 12 days in a long queue to cross the canal.”
After a two-day cruise over the Red Sea, the ship is due to arrive in Duqm on Tuesday. The crude will subsequently be transferred from the tanker to a smaller vessel with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes. On June 11, the first vessel is slated to arrive in Port Qasim.
On June 20, the remaining 50,000 tonnes of Russian crude will be delivered to Port Qasim. The authorities have stated that they will ensure that the Russian crude arrives safely and smoothly. According to the official, the delay in the arrival of Russian crude oil is due to logistical issues.
“The delay in the arrival of the cargo will not increase the transportation cost because it is already settled with the Russians,” he explained. “However, if the price of crude oil falls in the meantime, it will be detrimental to the country.”
The test cargo of Russian crude oil will be refined by Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL), which will combine it with petroleum imports from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Aramco.
PRL has been tasked with submitting to the government a test report on the oil’s quality, yields, and commercial feasibility. The test cargo will also assist the government in determining transportation costs, refining costs, and refinery margins.
PRL, National Refinery Limited, Pak Arab Refinery Limited, and Byco Petroleum refine 70% of Pakistan’s crude oil. The remaining 30% is generated locally and refined by local refineries such as Attock Refinery Limited.
The decision comes as Pakistan seeks to diversify its oil import sources in the face of rising world costs. Russia, a major crude oil producer, has offered the country cheaper oil pricing. The Russian crude will be paid for in yuan via the Bank of China.