Kathmandu, September 3
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are scheduled to virtually inaugurate the Nepal-India cross-border petroleum pipeline on September 10 through video conference.
As per the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS), the formal inauguration will be marked by pressing a switch button by the executive heads of both countries through a live video conference connected in between the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar, Office of the Indian Prime Minister, Amlekhgunj-based oil depot of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Motihari-based depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
According to MoICS officials, executive heads of both countries are scheduled to press the switch that opens the valve of the petroleum pipeline exactly at 12.15pm on September 10 amid the presence of high-level government dignitaries of both countries at the conference.
NOC and IOC had successfully concluded the ‘testing transfer’ of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline project last month. The IOC, through its refinery in Motihari, had supplied diesel to NOC’s Amlekhgunj-based depot then. However, NOC had unloaded only 1,000 kilolitres of the 3,100 kilolitres of diesel supplied by Indian Oil Corporation via the pipeline to test the newly constructed tanks at Amlekhgunj.
The commercial operation of the cross-border project will also be marked by unloading the remaining diesel following virtual inauguration of the project on September 10.
The Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline was first proposed in 1996. However, the project finally edged closer to reality during Indian PM Modi’s visit to Kathmandu in 2014. The two governments had inked an agreement to execute the project in August 2015. However, project construction was delayed following the 2015 earthquake and supply obstruction along the southern border. The project
construction works finally began in April last year with the mandate to complete the project within 30 months.
Interestingly, the project was completed much ahead of the deadline and is ready for commercial operation.
Along with reducing huge transportation cost for Nepal Oil Corporation, commercial operation of the oil project will also ensure reduction in fuel price in the domestic market. “Commercial operation of the cross-border fuel project will bring down fuel price by at least one rupee per litre,” said Sushil Bhattarai, deputy executive director at NOC.
A version of this article appears in print on September 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.