NOC acts to expedite oil pipeline project

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Construction has been held up due to the slow progress in completing the DES report

Feb 8, 2017-Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has moved to expedite the proposed Amlekhgunj pipeline project and will be sending a team to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Thursday to finalise the detailed engineering survey (DES) report. 

Construction of the cross-border pipeline was expected to start last January, but it has been held up due to the slow progress in completing the DES report. The DES was conducted jointly by NOC and its sole supplier IOC four months ago. 

NOC Spokesperson Bhanubhakta Khanal said the NOC team would be providing additional inputs to the DES as demanded by IOC. “A few days ago, IOC officials sent a copy of the DES report and asked for the precise alignment of the pipeline,” Khanal said. 

According to him, IOC officials have asked for details of the pipeline alignment which has been set at a distance of 13 metres from the side of the Amlekhgunj-Pathlaiya highway. The Roads Department has started the groundwork for a 13-metre-wide green belt on either side of the highway which will be widened to six lanes from the existing four lanes. Khanal said an earlier survey had planned that the pipeline would be laid 25 metres from the highway. “As the new alignment has been fixed at a distance of 13 metres from the roadside, it is necessary to reexamine possible contingencies.”

The previous study had reported that there were 82 turns on the proposed route. The government needs to cut down 25,000 trees and shift 2,100 electricity poles. Likewise, nearly 4,000 settlements encroaching on government land need to be cleared. “However, there will not be much change in the new alignment.” Meanwhile, the government has labelled the proposed oil pipeline a national priority project in a bid to speed up the long-delayed scheme. NOC has formed a central level committee and two local committees in Bara and Parsa districts to coordinate with various government offices so that paperwork will be expedited. 

These panels will coordinate with the Land Revenue Office, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal Electricity Authority, municipalities and Bara-Parsa National Park, among others, to resolve potential problems at the construction site. 

Khanal said they had received permission from almost all these government offices to step up the construction work. “Once the DES is finalised, we will be ready to call for tenders from potential bidders,” Khanal said.

During the meeting with IOC officials, NOC will also make a request to load cooking gas at Muzaffarpur where its supplier is extending its gas pipeline.

Currently, NOC has been taking delivery of cooking gas at IOC depots located at Barauni, Paradeep, Haldiya and Karnal. “We want to import cooking gas from Muzaffarpur as it is nearer to Nepal which means shipping costs will be lower,” Khanal added.  

Published: 08-02-2017 08:46

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