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NOC vows stable fuel supply during holidays

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 16, 2018-

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on Monday expressed its commitment to maintain smooth supply of petroleum products during the Dashain holidays, the biggest festival of Hindus.

Expressing regret at the long queues seen in front of several gasoline stations in the Kathmandu Valley, the state-owned oil monopoly said that there would be no fuel shortage during the festival. NOC said that it had increased deliveries by a significant amount in response to the surge in demand that appeared in the past few days.

Chief of NOC’s Thankot depot Bharat Regmi said they had almost doubled fuel deliveries in the Valley compared to normal times. According to him, NOC issued 1,150 kilolitres of petrol and 750 kilolitres of diesel on Monday alone.

As per NOC, the valley’s daily requirement of petrol amounts to 400-450 kilolitres during normal times. “On Sunday, we issued 1,038 kilolitres of petrol and 1,029 kilolitres of diesel in the Valley,” Regmi said. “NOC sold a similar quantity of fuel on Friday.”

Despite NOC’s claim, several refilling centres in the Valley have been seeing long queues of motorists in the last few days. Refuting reports of fuel shortages, Regmi said the queues at petrol pumps could be caused by motorists stocking up on gasoline as they expected to travel more during the holiday season.

NOC said it would be selling fuel on Tuesday too even though it has been declared a public holiday by the government. Phulpati, the seventh day of Dashain, falls on Tuesday. “NOC will have 10 employees on stand-by during the festival holidays in case any shortage arises,” Regmi said.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) traders have urged NOC not to cut imports of cooking gas on the pretext of minimising loss on sale. As per the revised price list sent by NOC’s sole supplier Indian Oil Corporation, its projected losses stand at Rs1.28 billion per month. Out of the total losses, the company incurs a loss of Rs404.73 on every cylinder of LPG sold. Last year, NOC imported 370,560 tonnes of cooking gas, or around 36,000 tonnes per month. Demand for the fuel surges by up to 20 percent during the winter. Speaking at a press meet on Monday, Gokul Bhandari, president of the Nepal LP Gas Industry Association, said, “If NOC reduces import quotas during the winter to reduce its losses, it will give rise to an acute shortage of the household fuel.”

LPG traders also blamed NOC for failing to revise the commission being given to gas plants and dealers. “NOC gives a commission of just Rs32 per cylinder to gas dealers, and the rate has not changed for five years,” said Maheshwar Kumar Shrestha, president of the Gas Dealers’ Association of Nepal. Shrestha asked NOC to raise the commission to at least 5 percent of the actual cost of LPG.

Published: 16-10-2018 08:58

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