KATHMANDU, Sept 22: The much-talked about petroleum pipeline project has gathered momentum after a brief halt due to last year's economic blockade.
Construction of the pipeline project is expected to begin from December, according to the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).
The Raxual-Amalekhgunj Petrol Pipeline project has gathered momentum as its detailed project report has been finalized. A team led by NOC Executive Director Gopal Khadka is in New Delhi to finalize the report.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to expedite the project during his visit to Kathmandu in August last year. However, the project had become uncertain because of the economic blockade imposed by India following promulgation of the constitution a year ago.
“The uncertainty has finally ended. NOC and IOC have already completed the detailed study of the project,” an NOC official said from New Delhi. “Construction woks will complete within a year."
The length of the pipeline, however, has decreased after the joint study. Earlier, the length of the pipeline was estimated at 41 km. However, the recent study showed that the pipeline will be 37.6 kilometers long.
The joint study has estimated the project cost at Rs 4.4 billion. India will invest Rs 3.2 billion, while Nepal will chip in Rs 1.2 billion.
“The construction will start soon,” a deputy director of NOC told Republica. “IOC engineers have completed the study, making the project viable.”
NOC officials say that the IOC has asked the Nepali side to help clear physical structures and trees along the proposed sites.
Around 13,000 trees have to be cleared along the proposed pipeline, according to NOC officials. Similarly, some electric poles and transmission lines need to be relocated.
NOC and IOC will also review the petroleum products agreement signed in 2012. The agreement has to be reviewed every five years.
The NOC team will also request the IOC to increase the capacity of the pipeline as the demand for petroleum products is increasing by 14 percent annually in recent years.
Some 1500 tankers have been ferrying petroleum products from India to Nepal at present. Once the pipeline is ready, the transport cost is expected to come down. Similarly, it is also expected to ensure regular supply of petroleum products.
According to officials, the pipeline can pump 3,000 kiloliters of petroleum products at a time.