Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline construction halted due to monsoon

Kathmandu, July 17

The pipe-laying process of Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline project has been halted since the last one week owing to the monsoon.

As laying pipes is technically unfeasible during adverse monsoon, Likhit Infrastructure, a construction company based in Maharashtra and the contractor for the oil project, has stopped pipe-laying works, according to Birendra Goit, spokesperson for Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).

“Continuous rainfall along the project’s route is hampering the pipe-laying process. However, the pipe-laying process of the project will resume from mid-August,” said Goit.

As per NOC, pipe-laying process has already been completed along almost 15 kilometres of the project’s route on Nepal side. Stretching almost 69 kilometres, 32.7 km of the pipeline will be laid in Indian territory and 36.2 km will be laid in Nepali territory. The cross-border project involves laying cross-country pipeline of 10.75-inch diameter and will have the capacity to supply 200,000 litres of fuel per hour, with fuel pumping facilities in Motihari.

“Had monsoon not affected the project’s work, we would have completed laying pipes along more than 17 kilometres along the finalised route till today,” added Goit.

Currently, pipes are being laid along Parwanipur-Pathlaiya section where all encroachment issues have been settled. Stretch from Raxaul, Indian border to Amlekhgunj will pass via Birgunj Customs, Birgunj Bypass, Gandak, Parwanipur, Jitpur, Simara and Pathlaiya.

As per the agreement that the governments of Nepal and India signed in August 2015, both NOC and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) plan to complete the project within designated timeframe of 30 months from the date of receipt of statutory clearances.

NOC claims that the actual construction works (pipe-laying process) of the project began from April 17, which means that the project should be completed within mid-October 2020 as per the agreement that the two countries have reached.

Meanwhile, Sushil Bhattarai, acting deputy managing director of NOC, said that both NOC and IOC are committed to completing the project before the given deadline.

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. While Indian government is injecting INR two billion for the project, Nepal will be contributing INR 750 million.