Kathmandu, March 23
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has urged the bottling plants to hire more liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets to procure additional quantity of LPG from refineries of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in view of the prolonged crisis of cooking fuel.
Bottlers have been asked to hire additional 20 bullets to ferry cooking gas within two or three days, according to Mukunda Prasad Ghimire, spokesperson for NOC.
Nepali bottlers are reliant on Indian transporters to ferry cooking gas. Currently, they have taken around 450 LPG bullets on lease, which is enough to cater to the supply only during normal times.
IOC refineries have been providing normal-time load of around 60 bullets (with 18 tonnes capacity each) every day since March and bullets have been loaded on time.
Citing the talks with IOC officials, Ghimire said IOC refineries have been instructed to dispatch adequate load to Nepal. “If the bottlers are able to hire more bullets, IOC is willing to increase the supply.”
IOC refineries dispatch LPG based on the product delivery order (PDO) of NOC and the corporation, in this regard, has been preparing to increase quota to the bottling plants based on number of cylinders they have circulated, which defines client-base of the particular company.
The country consumes around 30,000 tonnes of cooking gas every month. Though IOC has resumed the supply as in the normal times, the bottlers claim the current supply is inadequate to make up for the shortfall of cooking fuel during border blockade.
“We’re preparing to hire more LPG bullets to increase supply from India,” said Shiva Prasad Ghimire, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association.
“In addition to the current supply, the monthly LPG import from India needs to be ramped up by 10,000 tonnes for at least two months to restore normalcy.”
As per Shiva Ghimire, they are preparing to hire 20 additional bullets to take the load from Barauni refinery of IOC.
The refinery at Barauni is the nearest from Nepal and caters around 50 per cent of the total LPG import of the country. It takes just three to four days to transport LPG bullet from Barauni to the bottling plants. Majority of bottling plants are located in Dhading, Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts. There are 55 bottling plants in the country.
IOC has been providing LPG from Barauni, Haldia and Mathura. According to NOC spokesperson, Barauni has been dispatching 30 bullets, Haldia 20 bullets and Mathura has been supplying 10 bullets every day.
NOC has said that cooking gas supply will gradually normalise once the additional 20 bullets of cooking gas start arriving in the country.
The country has been reeling under shortage of cooking fuel since the last week of September. The four-and-a-half-month long border blockade crippled the import of LPG.
Supply of other petroleum products has been almost normalised following the regular supply from India after the official end of border blockade by agitating Madhes-based political parties on February 8. However, there are still long queues of empty cylinders waiting to be refilled in front of gas depots in Kathmandu. Only around 21 per cent of total households of the country use LPG as cooking fuel.
A version of this article appears in print on March 24, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.
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