NOC to explore petroleum import possibility

Kathmandu, October 7

Nepal Oil Corporation will soon seek expression of interest (EoI) from bidders interested in bringing in petroleum products from abroad.

NOC has resorted to this measure as the petroleum crisis is deepening in the country due to protests in the Tarai and irregular supply from India.

“We will issue the tender notice within a day or two,” said Gopal Bahadur Khadka, managing director of NOC.

NOC decided to look for other options, as Indian Oil Corporation slashed the supply to Nepal by over 90 per cent compared to normal times since last week, though NOC has not violated the contract with IOC.

“NOC has suffered heavy financial and brand image loss in the Nepali market due to the unilateral decision of IOC,” said Khadka, adding, “Even the argument of security concerns for the transporters holds no water, as the government has been repeatedly saying that full security would be ensured for transporters.”

Just after it started facing irregular supply from IOC, NOC had even sent a letter to IOC requesting immediate resumption of supply and to make up for the shortfall. IOC cannot cut petroleum supply to Nepal as per the petroleum purchase agreement that was signed between the two entities in 2012 and is valid till 2017.

The whole country is reeling under the scarcity of fuel. And NOC is even mulling over airlifting aviation turbine fuel to manage the operation of domestic flights, as its dwindling stock is enough to cater to the demand of domestic airlines for another three weeks only.

“We are considering bringing in fuel on aeroplane from Bangladesh or Singapore,” said Khadka.

NOC had already barred foreign aircraft from refuelling at the country’s only international airport — Tribhuvan International Airport — since September 29. International airlines have been told to either carry fuel from their base stations or manage technical landing at the nearest airport for refuelling. It also barred mountain and chartered flights from refuelling at TIA on Sunday.

Meanwhile, NOC has decided to designate a fuel station to supply fuel for vehicles of diplomatic missions and emergency services, as the diplomatic missions in Nepal requested NOC for the same. Vehicles of diplomatic missions and emergency services will get to refuel from Shakti Devi Fuel Station at Lagankhel of Lalitpur district, which is run by the Nepali Army.