The video shows the unloading of the first shipment of Russian oil at the port of Karachi in energy-starved and dollar-starved Pakistan, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced.
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, economic sanctions against Moscow have led to a significant decline in its oil and gas exports to the European Union and the United States.
But Pakistan, which is facing a scarcity of energy resources and mired in an economic crisis, confirmed in May that it had concluded an agreement with Moscow to buy oil products.
Shortage of US dollars from Pakistan’s reserves
Pakistan’s Oil Minister Mossadeq Malik has previously said the country will pay for Russian shipments in the currencies of “friendly countries”, with Pakistan’s reserves seriously short of US dollars and Russia distancing itself from the greenback.
“It is the first ever Russian oil shipment to Pakistan and the beginning of a new relationship between Pakistan and the Russian Federation,” Sharif said on Twitter on Sunday evening.
Sharif, whose country is preparing for general elections this year, said that the first shipment of “reduced crude oil” arrived in Karachi on Sunday, to be unloaded on Monday.
Local media reported that the 100,000 metric-ton shipment of oil left Russia a month ago and was distributed to two small ships in Oman before sailing to Karachi.
It comes as the economy of Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country, suffers from a balance of payments crisis and tries to service its massive external debt, after months of political chaos drove away any potential foreign investment.
A sharp decline in industrial production
Inflation rose, the rupee fell, and the country could no longer afford to pay for its imports, causing a sharp decline in industrial production.
The International Monetary Fund has told Pakistan it needs to secure additional external financing, cancel a raft of social benefits and float the rupee against the dollar before easing another tranche of a $6.5 billion loan facility.
It imports 84 percent of its oil products, mostly from Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
According to a report published by the research group “Except” in 2022, coal exports to Pakistan “probably doubled” under Taliban rule.
The energy sector has been suffering from shortages for years due to mismanagement, lack of storage facilities and bad economy.
Last week, the World Bank expected a slight recession of the economy in Russia this year, according to updated data, which it attributed to the continuation of energy exports, despite the embargo imposed on its gas and oil.