Kathmandu, March 1
Nepal and China have inked an agreement to start exploration of petroleum prospects in Palpa and Dailekh districts. A Nepali team from the Department of Mines and Geology (DoMG) has signed an agreement with the China Geological Survey for the aforementioned purpose in Beijing today.
The Nepali delegation was led by Som Nath Sapkota, director general of DoMG. “Our team has signed the agreement with China to explore petroleum products in Palpa and Dailekh,” informed Ram Prasad Ghimire, deputy director general at DoMG.
As per the agreement, a Chinese technical team will come to Nepal within May and start drilling and exploration of mines in Palpa and Dailekh.
As per Ghimire, after the initial drilling phase, the technical team will determine the types and amount of petroleum products located in the respective areas and possibilities of commercial exploration of the minerals, among other issues.
The Cabinet meeting on January 13 had approved a proposal titled ‘Implementation Agreements of China on Oil and Gas Resources Survey Projects in Nepal’ that was forwarded by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies. This subsequently paved the way to begin exploration works for petroleum products in the country.
On March 18, 2016, a high-level government committee had directed the Ministry of Industry to initiate the process of exploring petroleum products in 10 blocks located in the Tarai and Chure area and lay the groundwork for exploration of petroleum products in the country. Likewise, in April the same year, a team from China Geological Survey had observed and conducted a feasibility study in Surkhet, Dailekh and Palpa districts and also in the Chatara-Barahachhetra areas of Sunsari district.
Meanwhile, on August 17, 2017, Nepal and China had agreed on exploring petroleum products in Nepal.
Earlier, the government had segregated 10 blocks for exploration of petroleum products in the country. The 10 identified areas are Dhangadhi, Karnali, Nepalgunj, Lumbini, Chitwan, Birgunj, Malangwa, Janakpur, Rajbiraj and Biratnagar.
A version of this article appears in print on March 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.