Kathmandu, January 9
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is set to request Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to extend liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipeline up to Nepal’s border at Amlekhgunj.
A high-level team of NOC is visiting India in the third week of January to discuss with IOC on the feasibility of bringing Indian LPG pipeline to Nepal’s border. The Indian government is currently expanding LPG pipeline to different states like West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
“We are putting forth a proposal to IOC to expand the LPG pipeline up to the Nepal border during our next meeting, which is scheduled for third week of this month,” a source at NOC informed The Himalayan Times.
If IOC shows interest in extending the LPG pipeline to Nepal’s border, it will be a boon for domestic LPG industry, as this will ensure regular and timely supply of cooking gas.
Moreover, the transportation cost that Nepali traders are paying for the supply of LPG from India would also come down drastically. The Indian LPG refineries from where Nepali traders are bringing in cooking gas are located at a distance of up to 1,070 kilometres from the border.
In case extending the LPG pipeline up to Nepal’s border is not feasible, the official said that NOC would request IOC to provide LPG loading facility to Nepal from the location that is closest to the country.
“The Indian government is preparing to extend LPG pipeline from Paradip to areas closer to Nepal, which could be Patna or Muzaffarpur. We will urge the IOC to extend its LPG pipeline to Muzaffarpur of Bihar, which is only 173 kilometres away from Amlekhgunj,” the official said.
Currently, IOC is supplying LPG to Nepal through its five refineries, which are located quite far.
While Paradip refinery is located 1,070 kilometres away from Amlekhgunj, distance to Karnal refinery from Amlekhgunj is 1,068 kilometres.
Similarly, Mathura, Haldia and Barauni refineries of IOC are located at a distance of 1,048 kilometres, 801 kilometres and 273 kilometres from Amlekhgunj.
“If IOC expands its LPG pipeline to Muzaffarpur, we will urge IOC to develop LPG loading point at Muzaffarpur and supply LPG to Nepal from there,” the NOC source said.
Meanwhile, NOC is also requesting IOC to give loading facility of petroleum products to Nepal from Motihari in case the supply via yet to be constructed Raxaul-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline is obstructed due to technical reasons. After the construction of petroleum pipeline is completed, IOC is supposed to shift all its fuel depots located at Raxaul to Motihari.
“Supply through Raxaul-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline cannot be halted at any cost. However, in case of obstruction in supply due to natural calamities or during maintenance of the pipeline, we could ask IOC to give loading of all petroleum products from Motihari,” said NOC sources.
IOC does not have aviation turbine fuel (ATF) depot at Motihari and if IOC is to give loading facility to Nepal from there, it would have to develop an ATF depot there.
A version of this article appears in print on January 10, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.