Print Edition - 2015-10-26 | News
Nepal asked to take 1KT fuel by Nov 25
- NOC officials say fuel transport through Kerung-Rasuwagadhi ‘technically feasible’
Oct 26, 2015-
The Chinese government has asked Nepal to take delivery of 1,000 tonnes of petrol it has pledged in grant by November 25, the state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Sunday.
Amid public scepticism over the possibility of fuel imports from China through the damaged Kerung-Rasuwagadhi border point, NOC spokesperson Deepak Baral said it is “technically feasible” to transport fuel using tankers with a capacity to carry 12,000 litres. The fuel tankers range in capacity from 12,000 to 20,000 litres.
“We will be importing the subsidised petrol soon. We have been discussing with tanker owners to import fuel from China,” he said. Chinese tankers would transport the fuel up to the Kerung-Rasuwagadhi border from where Nepali tankers would carry it to the Capital, Baral said. The fuel imported from China would be available in the domestic market at the prevailing price.
However, the NOC has been discussing the modality and the means of transport to import the bulk amount of fuel after a commercial agreement is signed with China.
Meanwhile, a government team is set to visit China to sign a bilateral commercial agreement to import petroleum products.
“If things go as planned, the team could leave for Beijing as early as Monday,” said an official at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies. The team, to be led by Nepali Ambassador to China Mahesh Kumar Maskey, includes officials from the Commerce and Supplies, and Foreign ministries, and the NOC.
Maskey said they had already finalised the draft for the official agreement. “As China has been requesting Nepal to submit a work plan regarding fuel trade, it will be an ice-breaking deal,” he said.
He said the team would discuss the pricing and modality of importing fuel from China. After the agreement, Nepal will be importing petroleum products from China National Petroleum Corporation. Nepal has decided to initially import 10,000 tonnes of fuel that could meet country’s demand for at least a week.
For the last four decades, the NOC has been importing gasoline from Indian Oil Corporation. However, with the IOC declining to supply the adequate amount of fuel to the NOC following Indian government’s “unofficial blockade”, Nepal has approached the northern neighbour in a desperate bid to ease the fuel crisis in the country.
Nepal’s petroleum demand has been increasing at the rate of 10 percent annually. “Based on the growing demand, there is a need to import fuel from alternative sources too,” said Baral.
Published: 26-10-2015 08:48