Nepal and India have finalised a survey draft for the proposed Amlekhgunj-Raxaul petroleum pipeline.
A joint team of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) conducted the survey in three different phases. The draft report will be submitted to NOC and IOC separately.
The survey has proposed a road-to-road alignment, or laying down the pipeline along the 26-km Amlekhgunj-Patliya road and 12-km forest areas as the first option. “Under this option, a large number of trees have to be chopped,” said Bhanu Khanal, one of the members of the team and chief of NOC’s Amlekhgunj depot. The second option is laying the pipeline on the 12-km forest fire-line and 25-km agricultural land opposite of the Simara Airport. It will also intersect some sections of the road too. “Under this option, fewer trees have to be chopped,” Khanal said.
Under the third option, the pipeline will pass through the 17-km railway track in the forest areas, 20-km agricultural land and 3-km road. Nepal has to acquire a 1.8km patch in the Indian territory, of which 1km lies along a railway track and the rest consists of agriculture fields.
The Indian government has agreed in principle to build the project, worth around Rs 9 billion, in grant. Of the total cost, pipeline construction and land acquisition costs are estimated at Rs 4 billion. Rest of the funds will be used for other work, including capacity upgradation of NOC’s Amlekhgunj depot, its automation, and construction of a pumping station.
Meanwhile, NOC sources said the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies has invited the Indian Petroleum Minister to Nepal to discuss the pipeline and other issues. Although the schedule has not been fixed, the meeting is likely to take place after the Dashain festival.
IOC had proposed building the cross-border pipeline in 1995. Subsequently, a memorandum of understanding was signed between NOC and IOC in September 1996 at the junior executive level. In 2004, another agreement was reached at the chief executive level.
The much-delayed project gathered pace after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Nepal visit in first week of August, promised constructing the pipeline. The pipeline is expected to reduce transportation costs by 40-50 percent, control leakage and ensure hassle-free transfer and quality of petroleum products.
IOC team visits Amlekhgunj depot
A five-member team of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) conducted a field visit of the Amlekhgunj depot recently. The team will study the existing capacity including its safety and viability and also the proposed upgradation of the facility. The IOC team will submit its report to Nepal Oil Corporation with suggestions and recommendations for the enhancement of the depot. NOC has decided to build three vertical fuel tanks to store diesel at the Amlekhgunj depot. Each tank will have 16,000kl capacity. The depot’s current capacity is 15,700kl. It does not have a separate warehouse for stocking aviation fuel.
Likewise, four additional tanks, two each for petrol and aviation turbine fuel, have been planned with a combined capacity of 12,000kl.
Around Rs 5 billion has been estimated to carryout capacity upgradation of NOC’s Amlekhgunj depot, its automation, and construction of a pumping station.