The Indian government has said it is willing to build a gas pipeline linking India and Nepal in addition to the petroleum pipeline which it has recently agreed to construct. The proposed second pipeline will supply liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas.
Indian Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan agreed to send an Indian technical team to Nepal to study the feasibility of laying an LPG and natural gas pipeline during a meeting with Minister for Commerce and Supplies Sunil Bahadur Thapa in New Delhi on Monday, said the Press Information Bureau of India in a statement.
Thapa is currently on a visit to the southern neighbour. Pradhan assured him that LPG would be supplied to Nepal in adequate quantities without interruption.
The Indian government has also directed state-owned Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) refinery in Barauni to increase the quota of LPG for Nepal. The refinery has been ordered to boost LPG supplies to 30,000 tonnes monthly from February. Nepal presently gets 22,000 tonnes of the cooking fuel per month.
Meanwhile, the two sides agreed to continue their cooperation in all the existing areas and explore avenues of cooperation in other possible areas in the oil and gas sector.
According to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), consumption of LPG surged 14.12 percent to 207,038 tonnes in fiscal year 2012-13. The per capita LPG consumption stands at 7.81 kg. NOC officials said that due to extended load-shedding hours and LPG being cheaper than other energy sources, it had become the fastest growing fuel import. Nepal’s LPG import bills amounts to around Rs 20 billion annually.
The stats show that LPG consumption has jumped 213 percent over the last 10 years. The consumption started rising after 2007-08 and it soared 19.59 percent to 115,813 tonnes in 2008-09 and 21.89 percent to 141,171 tonnes in 2009-2010. In 1993-94, the consumption of LPG stood at 9,308 tonnes.
LPG consumption has soared dramatically due to its multiple uses and perennial power shortages. A normal urban household today keeps three cylinders of LPG, one for cooking, another for room heating and the third for heating water for the bathroom.
Evidence of the several cylinders a consumer possesses can be seen during times of LPG scarcity. Householders usually buy more than they need for fear of shortages.
According to National Population and Housing Census 2011, about 21.03 percent of Nepali households use LPG. In the cities, the figure is 67.68 percent.
Demand for LPG is high in urban areas because of the large number of hotels and restaurants, motor vehicles and glass and other industries that use the fuel due to a growing electricity deficit.