High-level NOC delegation off to India

Kathmandu, February 9

A high-level delegation of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) left for India today to hold meetings with officials of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on the feasibility of extending Indian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipeline up to Nepal’s border at Amlekhgunj.

The NOC team consists of Deputy Managing Director of NOC Sushil Bhattarai, NOC Director Sitaram Pokhrel, Project Head of Raxaul-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline Bhanubhakta Khanal, among others.

“We are set to propose to IOC to extend LPG petroleum pipeline to Nepal’s border at the meeting scheduled for Friday as IOC is currently expanding its LPG pipeline network to different Indian states,” Khanal, who is also spokesperson for NOC, informed The Himalayan Times.

The IOC is mulling over expanding LPG pipeline of Paradip to either Patna or Muzaffarpur. As Muzaffarpur is closer to Nepal, NOC will urge IOC to extend the pipeline to Muzaffarpur and then to Nepal’s border in Amlekhgunj, Khanal said.

In case extending Indian LPG pipeline to Nepal’s border does not seem feasible, Khanal said that NOC will urge IOC to make supply of LPG to Nepal from only one loading point that is closest from Nepal’s border. Currently, IOC supplies LPG from five different refineries, which are up to 1,070 kilometres away from Nepal’s border.

“If IOC expands its LPG network to Patna or Muzaffarpur, which are relatively closer to Nepal and if the country can avail LPG loading facility from these places, our transportation cost could come down significantly,” Khanal added. While Muzaffarpur is 173 kilometres away from Amlekhgunj, Patna is located at a distance of 233 kilometres from Nepal.

Meanwhile, the IOC-NOC meeting will also concentrate on the finalised detailed engineering report (DER) of the petroleum pipeline project and alignment of the finalised route to lay the pipeline. IOC and NOC have already finalised that the petroleum pipeline along Birgunj-Jitpur-Pathlaiya-Amlekhgunj course would be laid as per right-of-way rules, which means that pipes will be laid on either side of the finalised road routes without hampering the existing road infrastructure.

NOC will also update IOC on progress made by Nepal in clearing structures that have encroached the planned route of the pipeline project.

Khanal also informed that after this meeting, an IOC technical delegation will visit Nepal to map out the planned route of the pipeline project before inviting a global tender for the project.