Tanker drivers protest hits fuel supply

KATHMANDU: Scarcity of fuel has once again hit consumers as tanker drivers ferrying petroleum products started protest in the Valley against the traffic police decision to prohibit their entry into the city during daytime.

The protesters have halted transport of fuel to refilling stations since Friday, despite Nepal Oil Corporation's (NOC) promise to help them sort out the problem.

The protesting drivers have warned that they will continue the strike to halt ferrying petroleum products until NOC allows them to operate in the city areas at any time of the day.

As part of their strike, they have also stopped tankers owned by dealers. Over 200 tankers are said to have been stranded due to their strike as most refilling stations in the Valley are located within the Ring Road.

The state oil monopoly yesterday sought seven days' time to hold talks with traffic police and sort out their problems.

Approximately 2,500 retail dealers throughout the nation manage the sales for petroleum products -- petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG from NOC. There are 116 retail distributors for Kathmandu valley in particular.

The storage capacity for petrol is Kathmandu is 1,870 kiloliters, Diesel is 8,400 KL, and kerosene 4,960 KL. The products are transported from the depots to the retail dealers by tankers.

The number of transporters throughout the Nepal is 494, and 1180 tankers are engaged in transporting. The present storage capacity of NOC is 71,558 KL. However, it is just enough for 15 days only. Currently, the oil monopoly is working on developing storage facilities for petroleum products to have a storage capacity for meeting the demand for at least 30 days

According to NOC deputy director Mohan Karki, the countrywide demand for petrol is 12,000 KL per month, diesel 60,000 KL and kerosene 7000 KL per month.

"We are pretty much meeting the demand and supply ratio and there is no calamity as far as fuel is concerned," he added.

Nepal is increasingly dependent on oil for meeting its energy requirement. The demand for petroleum products is increasing by 20 per cent annually. Petroleum products constitute about 11 per cent of the total energy consumed in Nepal.

Approximately 70 per cent of all petroleum products are consumed in the central region.