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 Pakistan set to save $1 billion on Gulf oil import bill

 KARACHI, November 2 (Internews): Pakistan expects its Gulf oil import
 bill to come down by as much as 30 per cent to $2.2 billion, by the end
 of current fiscal year.
 "We expect to save as much a billion dollars in the current fiscal
 [ending June 2002] if present oil prices sustain in the international
 market," an official of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources
 said here Friday.
 In the last fiscal, ending June 2001, Pakistan imported $3.2 billion
 worth of petroleum products from the Gulf states to meet its burgeoning
 energy needs.
 "Oil prices in the world market have gone down to $20 a barrel from $26
 after September 11," the official said. "This has benefited Pakistan
 since the rupee made an unprecedented recovery against the dollar."
 Another factor that might lead to a further cut in the oil import bill
 has been the fall of petroleum consumption in the country, he added.
 According to oil marketing companies in Pakistan, petroleum consumption
 in the country has fallen by about 20 per cent after the terrorist
 attacks in the United States.
 The fall in the price of petroleum products alone may help Pakistan save
 between $500 million and $700 million, should the current prices
 continue in the international market for some more time.
 A reduction in the consumption and suspension of the Afghan Transit
 Treaty too has slashed Pakistan's oil import requirements by between 15
 and 20 per cent, he said. -Internews

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