Iran has offered to supply Pakistan with 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day and a $250 million loan to help build a gas pipeline from the Iranian border, a Pakistani official said Wednesday.
A Pakistani delegation will visit Iran in the middle of March to discuss the mode of payment, the official from the petroleum ministry told AFP.
Although the United States objects strongly to the pipeline project, Pakistan appears determined to press ahead importing fuel from its western neighbour under a deal expected to start providing gas in 2014.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan suffers from a crippling energy shortage and insists it cannot do without the fuel from Iran, subject to increasing EU and US sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.
"Iran has offered to supply 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day on deferred payment to Pakistan," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
"Iran has also agreed to provide $250 million as credit to Pakistan for the gas pipeline project," he added.
Pakistani Oil Minister Assem Hussein was quoted in the local media as confirming the 80,000 barrels and $250 million loan.