Nepal | July 16, 2020

NOC unlikely to fulfil its earlier pledge

Pushpa Raj Acharya
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Nepal Oil Corporation tanker. Photo: THT

Nepal Oil Corporation tanker. Photo: THT

Kathmandu, February 18

It is almost certain that Nepal Oil Corporation will not be able to fulfil its earlier promise of managing smooth supply of petrol by the end of the week.

NOC had claimed on Sunday that motorists and motorcyclists would be able to get fuel without having to queue for hours at fuel stations in Kathmandu Valley by tomorrow.

Its claim was based on the announcement that it was going to distribute 600,000 litres of petrol from Monday against the daily demand of 350,000 litres in Kathmandu Valley.

However, it has become clear that the serpentine queues in front of fuel stations will continue for at least another few weeks.

Explaining the persistent shortage, Sushil Bhattarai, acting deputy managing director of NOC, said the Raxaul Depot of Indian Oil Corporation  which supplies over 50 per cent of the total petroleum products  has been supplying only 70 per cent of 2,500 kilolitres that it used to supply during normal times.

However, it should be noted that IOC has been providing additional supply of around 1,100 kilolitres of petroleum products each day from its Barauni Depot.

IOC had started supplying fuel from Barauni as an alternative to Raxaul Depot, which had stopped loading NOC tankers when the agitating Madhes-based parties started theie border blockade.

Birgunj border, which remained shut for four-and-a-half months, was officially reopened on February 8.

After reopening the Birgunj trade route, a total of 19,040 kilolitres of fuel has entered Nepal by Wednesday, according to Birgunj Customs.

On average, 2,380 kilolitres of fuel have entered the country via Birgunj each day. According to Birgunj Customs Office, 4,352 kilolitres petrol, 12,008 kilolitres diesel, 2,512 kilolitres aviation turbine fuel and 168 kilolitres kerosene have entered via Birgunj from February 8 to 17.

Apart from this, 57 liquefied petroleum gas bullets with 1,026 tonnes cooking gas have entered the country. The total import of the last eight days, after the Birgunj trade route was reopened, does not match NOC’s claim of less supply.

“Contrary to our earlier assumption, we have realised that the supply needs to be double the daily demand to bring the situation back to normal,” said Bhattarai.

That basically means NOC would need to supply 700 kilolitres of petrol per day for one week for the situation to ease. “However, NOC does not have the capacity to increase the supply of petrol to more than 500 kiolitres per day,” he admitted.

According to Nepal Petroleum Dealers National Association, NOC is not even fulfilling its earlier pledge and has only been supplying around 460 kilolitres of fuel every day since Monday.

Moreover, NOC has been dispatching fuel tankers to fuel stations in the second-half of the day, compelling consumers to queue till the wee hours and that too without any certainty of getting fuel.

Prem Lal Maharjan, president of National Consumers Forum Nepal, said that majority of fuel stations have not been distributing fuel properly and ineffective market monitoring has given unscrupulous traders ample room to capitalise on the situation.

Currently NOC has been supplying 25 per cent of the total volume dispatched to the government-owned 12 fuel stations in Kathmandu Valley.

There are altogether 114 fuel stations in the Valley.


A version of this article appears in print on February 19, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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