Pakistani media reported on Saturday (May 6), citing government sources, that Pakistan may use yuan to pay for crude oil imported from Russia, with the first batch of 750,000 barrels of crude oil expected to arrive in the country as early as June.
An official at Pakistan's energy ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the deal would be backed by Bank of China.
The source did not provide details on the method of payment or the exact discounts Pakistan would receive, saying it would not be in the interest of buyers and sellers to make such information public.
It is reported that Pakistan Refinery Co., Ltd. will be the first refinery to refine Russian crude oil, and other refineries will join after trial operation.
Other sources said Pakistan had agreed to pay between $50 and $52 a barrel for crude oil, while the Group of Seven (G7) capped prices for Russian oil at $60 a barrel.
In December, the European Union, the G7 and their allies imposed a block ban on Russian seaborne oil exports and set a price cap of $60 a barrel.
In January, Moscow and Islamabad reached a "conceptual" agreement on the supply of Russian oil and oil products to Pakistan. The deal is expected to help cash-strapped Pakistan. Pakistan is facing a balance of payments crisis and extremely low foreign exchange reserves.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova said at the end of March that Russian and Pakistani companies are studying the supply of crude oil to Pakistan, have initially agreed on the price, and are discussing the issue of trial supply of a batch of crude oil. The supply may increase in the future, and we hope to resolve all technical issues in the near future and establish a stable export.
Pakistani Oil Minister Musadiq Malik said in April that under a new agreement between Pakistan and Russia, Pakistan had placed its first discounted crude oil order with Russia; according to the agreement, Pakistan will only buy discounted crude oil, not refined fuel.
Earlier, Argentina announced that it would stop using U.S. dollars to pay for goods imported from China. Other countries such as Russia, Brazil, France and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have also decided to use the yuan or their own currencies instead of the dollar.
Indian government officials and people familiar with the matter said this week that India and Russia have suspended negotiations on using Indian rupees for settlements. It means that India's intention to import oil and coal from Russia at a lower cost has suffered a setback. It is reported that the two sides are currently looking for alternatives. One of the Indian officials said Russia was unwilling to hold rupees and wanted to pay in other currencies, including yuan.