NOC plans to hire foreign consultant

Kathmandu, August 4

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has decided to hire a foreign consultant to oversee the entire process of upgrading petroleum storage capacity in the country.

For the said purpose, NOC had announced a global tender a month ago seeking proposals from interested international bidders to provide consultancy service to NOC to build new storage facility for petroleum products.

Moreover, NOC has already received 15 applications from foreign bidders to cater consultancy service to NOC for the construction of additional fuel storage capacity in the country, according to Sushil Bhattarai, deputy managing director of NOC.

“We are obliged to hire a foreign consultant as we do not have technical expertise to design and construct the planned fuel storage facilities in the country. The consultant company will prepare a design of fuel storage facility, determine the appropriate technology to be used and finalise the entire construction modality of fuel storage facilities in the country,” Bhattarai said.

Similarly, the yet to be hired consultant company will also assist NOC to prepare a tender document for calling a global tender for the construction of planned fuel storage facility.

As per Bhattarai, NOC will soon analyse the application of bidders and award the consultancy work to a capable foreign company.

Though NOC is in the final stage of hiring a foreign consultant, it is quite sure that the corporation’s plan to develop new petroleum storage facilities across the country will be delayed as NOC and its officials have been embroiled in charges of misappropriating funds while purchasing land for the aforementioned storage project.

Moreover, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature-Parliament has already recommended action against all who have allegedly been involved in misappropriating funds and the anti-graft body — Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) — has also begun a probe in the entire land acquisition process of NOC. This will surely affect the petroleum storage expansion project.

As a result of low storage capacity of fuel, the country faced acute shortage of petroleum products two years back when fuel supply in the country was disrupted due to trade disruptions in the southern plains. In a bid to cope with the shortage that is faced

during such hard times, the government had decided to expand fuel storage capacity in the country so that NOC would be able to sustain the demand of petroleum products for at least three months.

Subsequently, NOC had started land acquisition process in different parts of the country with a target to develop storage capacity of petroleum products in each province.

Currently, Nepal has facilities to store 71,000 kilolitres of petroleum products which can reportedly sustain the market demand for less than five days.