Kathmandu, April 28
Construction of the much awaited Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline is expected to be completed within the next two weeks as a majority of the pipe-laying process for the project has been completed.
As per Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), the pipe laying process along 32.6 kilometres of the total project length of 36.6 kilometres on Nepal side has been completed so far. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which is the developer of the project, has already completed laying pipes along 32.7 kilometres of the project section that falls within Indian territory.
“Pipe laying process has been completed in most of the sections with just four kilometres remaining. The pipe-laying process along the remaining portion will be completed within the next two weeks,” informed Sushil Bhattarai, deputy managing director of NOC.
As soon as the pipe-laying process is completed, the technical team of the project will test the pipes and other technicalities before formally starting fuel trade with India via the cross-border pipeline.
Though NOC is still uncertain on when to formally start fuel trading with India via the pipeline, NOC officials said that both the Nepali and Indian governments, along with NOC and IOC are keen to commence the project as soon as possible.
The Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline was first proposed in 1996. However, the project finally edged closer to reality during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kathmandu in 2014. The two governments had inked an agreement to execute the project in August 2015.
Meanwhile, project construction was further delayed following the 2015 earthquake and supply obstruction along the southern border. Despite those setbacks, the project has been achieving tremendous progress in recent months.
The project involves laying 10.75-inch diameter pipes and will have the capacity to supply 200,000 litres of oil per hour.
The fuel pumping facilities will be located in Motihari, India. NOC plans to conduct the trial of the project by supplying diesel in the first phase.
The INR 2.75-billion petroleum pipeline project is expected to be crucial to ensure regular supply of petroleum products in Nepal and reduce fuel transportation costs.
A version of this article appears in print on April 29, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.