NOC plays hookey on LPG import front

KATHMANDU: The market is facing a shortage of cooking gas due to the growing gap between demand and supply. The demand in the market is increasing by around 25 per cent but Nepal OIl Corporation (NOC) is importing just half the demand volume — sometimes less than that — fuelling a shortage of cooking gas in the market.

“Though Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) agreed to import 17,000 metric tonnes (MT) of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for the month of March, it has not fulfilled its promise,” said Suresh Prajapati, general secretary of the LPG Industries Association (LPGIA).

“It imported around 1,000 metric tonnes for a week,” he said adding that then the state-oil monopoly dropped its import to only 350 metric tonnes — almost a quarter of the demand — fuelling the shortage in the market.

The total demand of LPG — popularly known as cooking gas — is 45,000 cylinders per day but NOC is importing only 6,000 cylinders per day.

On March 3, NOC and the association entered into an agreement that NOC will import 17,000 metric tonnes of gas for March.

“We have been urging NOC for more than three months to manage sufficient supply of LPG but it imported only 55 per cent of the total demand in February, making the people suffer,” Prajapati added.

The demand for cooking gas in February was around 15,000 metric tonnes but NOC supplied only the half of the demand that is 8,500 metric tonnes, he said. Since February, the market has faced the shortage of cooking gas supply. Meanwhile, in September-October the total demand was 13,000 metric tonnes while the supply was less than 10,000 metric tonnes.

However, Prajapati said that the association has already submitted a memorandum to the Chief District Officer (CDO) regarding the supply and NOC has assured of importing 16,200 metric tonnes by Monday. “We are hopeful that NOC will import sufficient quantity of cooking gas to ease the shortage in the market,” he added.