Petromax likely to start ATF supplies by Thursday

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 9, 2015-

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has said that Petromax Nepal, which has been contracted to supply aviation turbine fuel (ATF), is likely to start shipments by Thursday. The private company has signed an agreement with the state-owned oil monopoly to supply 400 kilolitres of aviation fuel daily.

NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire said Petromax had assured them that it would start providing ATF by Thursday. According to him, the company is likely to bring the fuel from Bangladesh by air. Ghimire said the fuel would cost Rs192 per litre. “If the company imports fuel from India, the price will be Rs181 per litre,” he said.

Petromax is one of the 22 applicants that have submitted expressions of interest to NOC to supply fuel. The government corporation had called for bids to supply fuel after India stopped shipments under an undeclared embargo.

For the last two weeks, NOC has been purchasing ATF airlifted by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC). However, NAC has not been able to bring the pledged amount of fuel. “The national flag carrier was supposed to transport 72-80 kilolitres of fuel daily, but it has been supplying only around half of that,” Ghimire said.  

NOC has been selling ATF to only domestic airlines as it has run out of stock after the unofficial trade embargo imposed by India. According to the corporation, aircraft flying in and out of Kathmandu require 60 kilolitres daily while the total national demand is 100 kilolitres daily.

The ATF being airlifted by NAC has been a big respite for domestic airlines which are close to being grounded due to lack of fuel. On Sunday, domestic carriers cancelled almost 80 percent of their scheduled flights as they were low on fuel. They have warned that they may have to stop flying altogether on Monday if NOC does not come up with adequate fuel.

Meanwhile, Chinese oil company PetroChina has asked for detailed information about Nepal’s petroleum requirement. According to Ghimire, PetroChina’s response followed NOC’s letter of last week inviting it to sign an oil deal soon.

NOC has been looking for alternative fuel sources by breaking a 40-year-long business relationship with Indian Oil Corporation which has been its sole supplier.

As per NOC, it will purchase at least 30 percent of Nepal’s petroleum requirement from PetroChina even if the Indian company were to resume shipments in the future. Nepal’s daily oil requirement amounts to 4,500 kilolitres.

Published: 09-11-2015 08:46

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