NOC wakes up to LPG crisis, plans to open bottling plants

Kathmandu, October 15:

In a bid to address the recurring shortage of cooking gas in the market, the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is planning to establish its own bottling plants for liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

“We are planning to open two bottling plants in Mahendranagar and Dhading, keeping in view artificial scarcity of cooking gas in the market created by gas industries and dealers. We hope that this would help control artificial scarcity of cooking gas in the country,” Digambar Jha, managing director of the state-run oil monopoly said.

Though the proposal is yet to be approved by the NOC Board, Jha said that it would be approved soon.

“The plant in Dhading will supply LPG in the Valley, the largest market of LPG, whereas the other in Mahendranagar will supply LPG to other parts of the country.

Though NOC imports LPG from Indian Oil Corporation from Barauni and Mathura of India, only private companies are bottling and selling liquified petroleum gas in the market. There are around 27 private plants bottling LPG cylinders acrosss the country.

“We welcome NOC’s decision of establishing its own plant because it would help curb unnecessary cartelling and artificial scarcity,” Gas Dealers’ Association Nepal’s president Gyaneshwor Aryal.

He added that it was positive as it goes against handing over the Nepal Oil Corporation to the private sector.

Saying that there were just three LPG bottling plants in India, Aryal suggested the NOC to take over existing bottling plants instead of opening new plants and focus more on increasing imports from India.

The scarcity of the cooking has been felt in the market since the last two years. While the gas dealers and industries blamed inadequate import of cooking gas behind the short supply in Dashain, the state-run oil monopoly maintained that the supply was adequate to meet the demand and that the dealers and gas industries stashed away cylinders to create artificial scarcity.