Fuel supply from India normalising

Kathmandu, March 9

Fuel supply from India has been returning to normalcy since last week as all the depots of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have started providing adequate load to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) tankers.

After NOC started receiving load similar to that in the normal times, the state-owned petroleum company, today, said that supply of petrol will ease by this week. The country consumes 25,000 kilolitres (kl) of petrol every month.

However, it will take another two weeks to ease the supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Consumption of LPG stands at around 30,000 tonnes each month. “Supply of cooking gas is expected to normalise within 15 days as supply of cooking gas has also become normal,” said Mukunda Prasad Ghimire, spokesperson for NOC.

Consumption of cooking gas goes down slightly along with the start of the warm season. The country imports cooking gas from Barauni, Haldia and Mathura refineries of IOC and a total of 60 LPG bullets were dispatched every day from the IOC refineries in the last week, which is sufficient to cater to the demand of the normal times, said Ghimire.

“As we witnessed short supply for a long time, we need a few more days to manage smooth supply of cooking fuel.”

The prolonged shortage has created more demand for diesel as construction activities that had been stalled during the fuel crisis has been restarted. The government’s capital expenditure on development projects was a mere eight per cent of the total allocation of Rs 208.88 billion in the first half of the current fiscal.

Demand for diesel has surged as all the construction works that had been halted were restarted at the same time. “Increasing load-shedding hours and demand from the development projects has hiked the demand for diesel to around 90,000 kl per month from 75,000 kl,” said Ghimire.

As the commerce secretary level talks has been scheduled for April, the Ministry of Commerce has also pledged to NOC that it will request its counterpart to increase the supply of diesel considering the massive works of construction and post-earthquake reconstruction. NOC has also been asked to request IOC to increase supply of diesel.

NOC has said that it will be a daunting task to maintain smooth distribution of diesel until the IOC increases supply of diesel to the country. Demand for diesel comes down in the wet season only as load-shedding hours decrease and the season is also not favourable for construction activities.