ISLAMABAD - Russia and Pakistan are negotiating potential energy deals worth in excess of $10 billion, according to Pakistani energy officials. Khawaja Asif said four to five huge power projects “will cement our relationship further”.
Russia last month appointed an honorary counsel in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, where its companies are in talks to build an oil refinery and a power station.
But the biggest deals focus on gas supply and infrastructure to Pakistan, one of the world’s fastest growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import markets.
In October, Pakistan and Russia signed an inter-governmental agreement on energy, paving the way for Russian state giant Gazprom to enter negotiations to supply LNG to Pakistan.
The talks are expected to conclude within three months and Gazprom is considered “one of the front-runners” to clinch a long-term supply deal, according to the Pakistani official. There is also growing confidence that a gas pipeline due to be built by Russia , stretching 1,100 km from Lahore to Karachi, will go ahead.
US sanctions against Russian state conglomerate Rostec, as well as a dispute over North-South pipeline transport fees, have held up the $2 billion project since it was signed in 2015.
The North-South pipeline would be the biggest infrastructure deal by Russia since early 1970s, when Soviet engineers constructed the Pakistan Steel Mills.
A Russian company, according to the defence minister, is eying up a deal to take over the disused Soviet-built steel mills.