Pakistan is ready to import petroleum products from India, but Indian firms need to offer the ‘right prices’, said Pakistan’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Asim Hussain along the sidelines of the oil and gas conference Petrotech-12 today.
A team from state-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will now be visit Pakistan to discuss prices for exporting fuels, he said.
However, an HPCL official, who did not want to be quoted, said that Pakistan has been demanding very low prices for the petroleum products, which are not viable for business.
India and Pakistan are looking for increasing trade ties. The two countries have long been discussing petroleum trade.
In March, forced by a deficit in fuel, Pakistan had allowed gasoline or petrol products to be imported from India. It further granted India the ‘most favoured nation’ status. However, India has not been able to compete with the low rates offered by Kuwait for shipping petrol products like diesel.
HPCL is likely to be the biggest beneficiary if petroleum trade between the two neighbouring countries becomes a reality. The company plans to double its capacity from the present 9 million tonne, if the petroleum product ties with Pakistan fructifies.
India is also in talks with Pakistan for a 200 km pipeline from Bathinda, Punjab to Lahore for trade of petroleum products. This is likely to benefit HPCL’s Bhatinda refinery, which it runs under its joint venture – HMEL - with steel tycoon LN Mittal’s investment firm.
Pakistan is also looking at assigning some of its 60 oil and gas blocks on bilateral basis. Asim Hussain will be discussing this issue with his Indian counterpart at the bilateral meeting, along the sidelines of Petrotech-2012.