In an attempt to give a big push to trade in petroleum products, both India and Pakistan have decided to take up a focussed approach on the issue of identifying possible supply routes – rail, road, pipeline and sea --, source and point of supply for petroleum products, regulatory framework, enhancement of direct banking and postal services between the two nations.

The two sides have decided to chalk out a road map to take the talks further in a focussed manner. The Pakistan side has been invited by the India to visit New Delhi this month-end to work out in detail all parameters for giving petroleum trade a new direction in the interests pf both the countries.

In the previous round of talks held in Islamabad held last month, the Indian side was led by P. Kalyansundaram, Director (IC) in the Petroleum Ministry. The Pakistan side was led by Shabbir Ahmad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. The Indian side offered range of petroleum products including pet coke, sulphur, bitumen, lubricants as per quality requirements of Pakistan side.

It was decided that before operationalising of formal trade in petroleum products between the two countries, harmonisation and recognition of standards/procedures and regulatory framework in vogue need to be examined in detail. Both sides felt that banking services should be enhanced to facilitate business through letters of credit; direct routing of postal/courier services was also discussed. It was felt that SAPTA certificate recognition system be made online; multi-city and multiple entry non-reporting visas for businessmen on both sides should be introduced and warehousing and tankage facilities with infrastructure facilities like cranes, fork lifts and other machinery should be set up at the Wagah border.

The meeting also discussed the possibility of import of petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) products from India and specifications for furnace oil, diesel, Jet-I and petrol. The Pakistan side sought to know the capacity and supply position of Indian side for exports to Pakistan. The possibility of movement of petroleum products from the rail, road, laying of new pipelines and sea was also discussed along with sustainability of supplies.

The India side apprised Pakistan that it was keen on supply petroleum products to Pakistan, which will benefit both the countries. India has a refining capacity of 213 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) while their domestic requirement is 148 MTPA and exportable capacity was around 65 MTPA. India has plans to improve 310 MTPA by the end of March 2017 when the consumption is expected to be around 186 MTPA with an increased export surplus of 124 MTPA. The Indian side informed that they had the flexibility to meet Pakistan’s requirements.

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