NOC to obtain bullets to bring gas from China

- Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu
NOC has also put on hold its scheme to rent gas bullets from the private sector

Dec 26, 2015-Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has planned to obtain bullets suitable for transporting liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from China as it is close to signing a commercial supply deal with the northern neighbour, officials said.

The government has turned to China to fulfil one-third of Nepal’s fuel requirement in a bid to diversify energy suppliers after India imposed an embargo and cut shipments. 

State-owned NOC and PetroChina signed a framework agreement on October 28, and plan to reach a commercial agreement with details of import procedures. 

NOC said that it would allow private companies to purchase small gas bullets or it would purchase them directly from China. 

Considering the planned import of petroleum products including cooking gas from China, NOC has also put on hold its scheme to rent gas bullets from the private sector.

Two weeks ago, NOC had invited tenders to rent 450 gas bullets and received 1,079 offers. Neither NOC nor private companies possess LPG bullets. Indian bullets have so far been used to transport the fuel to plants in Nepal.

NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka said the corporation had started studying whether to buy bullets or allow the private sector to buy them to bring the fuel from China. 

“As the process of signing a supply deal with China is in progress, we have been considering buying or renting bullets suitable for hilly roads,” said Khadka.

As per NOC, 523 bullets belonging to seven Indian shipping companies are being used to transport LPG from Indian Oil Corporation’s depots in Barauni, Haldiya and Mathura to Nepal. These shipping companies have been taking home more than Rs3 billion in freight charges annually.

The bullets that NOC has been using have a capacity to carry 18 tonnes of LPG. They are too large for the rough and narrow roads in Nepal leading to the Chinese border. Khadka said they were considering acquiring or renting bullets with a capacity of 10-12 kilolitres.

A technical team consisting of NOC Acting Deputy Director Sushil Bhattarai and Commerce Ministry Under-Secretary Shiva Tripathi had visited China recently to discuss fuel imports and concluded that it was possible to bring cooking gas from the northern neighbour. 

The team in its report has shown the possibility of importing 150-200 tonnes of cooking gas daily from Chengai, China.

Published: 26-12-2015 08:45

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