With rerouting of gas bullets, the country managed to import higher quantity of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in month of January.
Altogether 10,386 tonnes of LPG was imported via Bhairahawa and Biratnagar route last month. According to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), a total of 577 cooking gas bullets (of 18 tonnes) entered Nepal in January, which is neck-to-neck with the total quantity that country imported in the last three months of 2015. According to NOC, the total LPG import from October to December of last year was 11,000 tonnes.
However, there is little reason to cheer as NOC — the state-owned petroleum company — has said that the quantity of cooking gas that entered the country in January is only one-third of the country’s monthly import during normal times.
“More gas bullets entered the country in January because NOC managed to reroute the bullets that were stranded at Raxaul (Birgunj) border point,” said Deepak Baral, acting director of Supply and Distribution Department at NOC.
The supply of all essential commodities, including petroleum products, has been erratic after the agitating Madhes-based political parties started their border blockade in the last week of September.
As per NOC, 192 LPG bullets entered through Biratnagar and 385 via Bhairahawa in January. NOC officials doubt that the corporation will be able to increase LPG import because refineries of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have been dispatching limited number of bullets to Nepal.
NOC has termed this situation as ‘controlled loading’.
IOC provides load from four different refineries — Barauni, Haldia, Mathura and Karnal (Panipat). The monthly import of the country from various refineries during normal times used to hover around 29,000 to 30,000 tonnes.
According to NOC, refineries of IOC have been providing half of the load than normal times. Barauni refinery, which used to load 30 to 35 bullets each day during normal times, is providing only 15 bullets each day at present. A bullet can refill 1,260 cylinders.
According to Baral, consumers will be able to procure only half-filled LPG cylinders till the supply situation is not fully normalised.
NOC issues product delivery order for bottling plant to import cooking gas and based on the order slip, bottlers receive load from various refineries of IOC. In normal times, Barauni refinery caters over 50 per cent of the total import of cooking gas. Barauni caters 14,500 tonnes, Haldia (11,916 tonnes), Mathura (4,248 tonnes) and Karnal (200 tonnes) in a month during normal times, as per NOC.