Pak considering importing diesel from India

Islamabad: The Pakistan government is considering a proposal to meet its needs for diesel and furnace oil from India as imports from the neighbouring country will cost 30 per cent less than those from Gulf countries, a media report said today.

"We are in deficit and will take up the issue of diesel and furnace oil import with an Indian team scheduled to meet with us in Islamabad on Monday," Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain told The Express Tribune.

Hussain said Pakistan is a major importer of diesel and furnace oil and the two products could be purchased from India at cheaper rates. "We are interested in fulfilling our total requirements of diesel and furnace oil through imports from India," he said.

"Indian oil products will be 30 per cent cheaper than those from Gulf countries," said an unnamed official of the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry. The government is also discussing proposals to import 200 million cubic feet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) a day and 500 MW of electricity from India, the report said.

A plan to import oil, LNG and electricity from India is being discussed after the federal cabinet decided in principle to grant Most Favoured Nation-status to the neighbouring country. Pakistan`s total diesel consumption is 6.9 million tons a year and domestic refineries produce 3.2 to 3.4 million tons while the remaining quantity is imported.

Furnace oil demand stands at about nine million tons, of which refineries produce about 2.5 million tons while the rest is imported. Consumption of furnace oil is expected to surge to 16 million tons by 2015-16 because of new power projects. Hussain said Pakistan was also discussing the option of gas imports from India.