Kathmandu, September 17
If things go according to plan, the pipe laying process of the much-awaited Amlekhgunj-Raxaul petroleum pipeline could begin as early as in next three months, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has said.
According to NOC officials, the Detailed Engineering Report (DER) of the 41-kilometre cross-border pipeline project will be finalised by October 10, which will open doors to announce global tender and then make way for the pipe laying process.
Indian company SM Consultant has been designated to prepare the DER of the pipeline project and submit it to NOC and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) by October 10.
“The pipe laying process will begin from December if everything goes smoothly. Though the pipeline project remained at a standstill for long, it has started picking up pace as both sides are putting in efforts to implement it,” Bhanubhakta Khanal, Nepal coordinator of the project told The Himalayan Times, adding that IOC will call for a global tender to construct the pipeline as soon as the DER of the project is completed.
Largely considered a boon for Nepal’s petroleum sector and the domestic economy, the agreement of Indo-Nepal oil project was inked in August of last year. However, the implementation part of the project received less priority from both sides despite the earlier commitment to begin the construction process without delay and to complete the project within 30 months.
According to Khanal, the technical team of NOC and IOC will minutely tally the pipeline route and DER before going for global tender. The pipeline will be laid through Birgunj-Jitpur-Pathlaiya-Amlekhgunj route and will be constructed in right-of-way format, meaning that pipes will be laid along finalised road route. While 39-kilometre section of the pipeline lies in Nepal side, two kilometres lie on the Indian territory.
Meanwhile, NOC has said that families of some 4,000 houses that have been built by encroaching upon government land in the finalised route would need to be resettled at the earliest.
“Immediately after DER is ready, we will hold a meeting with government and related ministries to seek their help to clear structures that have encroached on public land along the route,” Khanal added.
Completion of the pipeline project is expected to ensure regular supply of petroleum products in Nepal and control leakage. Similarly, the petroleum pipeline is also expected to reduce fuel transportation cost by more than 50 per cent.
The pipeline project is expected to cost INR 2.75 billion. While Indian government will provide INR two billion for the project, Nepal will inject INR 750 million.
Meanwhile, NOC has requested government to urge the Indian side to increase the diameter of the pipes that are being laid by two inches during the ongoing prime minister’s visit to India. Otherwise, the two sides had agreed to lay 10-inch pipes. As per Khanal, 12-inch pipes are comparatively more durable.
Similarly, NOC is also asking the government to seek technical assistance from India for the construction of LPG storage and refilling plant with 35 metric tonne capacity in the country.
A version of this article appears in print on September 18, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.