Iran offers Pakistan 80,000 barrels of oil: official

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 29, 2012 6:08 AM
Iran offers Pakistan 80,000 barrels of oil: official

By Qasim Nauman

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Iran has offered 80,000 barrels of oil to Pakistan on a three-month deferred payment plan, an official in Islamabad said on Wednesday, in an attempt to soften the impact of Western sanctions and ease some of Pakistan's energy needs.

Tehran's offer comes a week after Pakistani officials revealed that Iran had asked to import a million tonnes of wheat in a barter deal, with the latest Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program disrupting critical food imports.

"It is only an initial offer of 80,000 barrels on deferred payment at the moment," Irfan Qazi, a spokesman for Pakistan's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, told Reuters.

"We don't know about the modalities or how it can be worked out yet. A delegation from the ministry will visit Iran in the middle of March to follow up on this offer."

Pakistan would import Iranian fertilizer and iron ore under that wheat proposal.

Energy-starved Pakistan is looking to increase its fuel imports to reduce power shortages that have crippled industry, prompted riots and shaved percentage points off its GDP growth.

The United States imposed the harshest in a series of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program on December 31, targeting institutions that deal with Iran's central bank or other blacklisted Iranian financial entities.

Countries with significant Iranian oil imports are voluntarily cutting down on such purchases to avoid penalties.

Tehran has dramatically widened its reach on international grain markets in February, using currencies other than dollars and euros as alternative trade finance, with dealers also reporting talk of barter deals involving oil and gold.

(Editing by Chris Allbritton)