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Depot construction delays fuel shortage concerns

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Construction plans have been thrown into limbo due to controversial land purchase deals made by former managing director of NOC Gopal Bahadur Khadka

Jan 11, 2018-Delays in building storage facilities and laying oil pipelines have heightened chances of fuel shortages in the event of a sudden disruption in supply, said stakeholders at a programme organised to mark the 48th anniversary of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).

The government has considered constructing additional oil storage depots and a cross-border pipeline as part of its strategic plan to ensure uninterrupted supply of the essential good across the country, but the holdup has raised the risk of the country being crippled by unforeseen disasters, they said.

The government has planned to expand storage facilities to hold a 90-day supply of fuel. The state-owned oil monopoly’s storage facilities can currently hold 71,709 kilolitres of fuel. Based on the current level of demand, NOC’s stock is enough for 14 days.

As per NOC statistics, the daily fuel consumption stood at more than 4,600 kilolitres in 2016-17, including 1,102 kilolitres of petrol and 3,553.6 kilolitres of diesel.

Oil depots have been proposed to be built in each of the seven provinces. However, construction plans have been thrown into limbo due to controversial land purchase deals made by former managing director of NOC Gopal Bahadur Khadka. He has since been transferred to the Supplies Ministry.

Speaking at the anniversary programme, Supplies Minister Jayant Chand said the government had given priority to the construction of storage facilities and an oil pipeline to ensure energy security. “However, the failure to implement these projects on time has forced the NOC to manage supply on a floating basis,” Chand said.

NOC’s Acting Managing Director Sushil Bhattarai said the corporation had planned to hold talks with its Chinese counterpart which is keen to build fuel storage facilities in various parts of the country.

According to him, the northern neighbour has expressed interest to build oil depots in Panchkhal in Kavrepalanchok, Battar in Nuwakot and Tanahu.

Bhattarai said NOC was planning to build aviation fuel depots in a number of airports including Janakpur, Simara and Dang.

“In addition, we have considered upgrading the temporary depots in Jhapa and Manthali to permanent facilities,” said Bhattarai. He added that NOC had started upgrading the depot at Tribhuvan International Airport in accordance with the standards set by the International Air Transport Association.

Using advanced technology to distribute fuel, prioritising the production of green energy to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels, formulating an energy policy and fully implementing the auto pricing system on fuel are among the concerns expressed by participants at the function.

Published: 11-01-2018 08:46

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