The construction of the Amlekhgunj-Motihari oil pipeline is 65 percent complete, and Nepal Oil Corporation expects it to start transporting fuel from India to Nepal by March.
According to the state-owned oil monopoly, 24 km of the 36.2 km of pipeline that lies within Nepali territory has been completed. The total length of the pipeline which extends from Amlekhgunj, Nepal to Motihari, India is 69 km. It has a diameter of 10.75 inches and can transport 2 million tonnes of fuel per annum.
Out of the 32.7 km of pipeline that lies in Indian territory, only 3 km remains to be laid. “The remaining portion will be completed in three months if work continues uninterrupted,” said Bhanubhakta Khanal, chief of the pipeline project.
According to Khanal, pipeline laying work has been completed at Rajat Jayanti Chowk in Birgunj, Gandak Chowk Bypass and Gandak area.
“Around 6,000 trees will need to be chopped down in Parsa National Park to lay the pipeline,” Khanal said.
Two months ago, the government approved the environmental impact assessment report allowing the project to move forward. Khanal said they were consulting with the national park authorities to cut the trees. “The national park is concerned that construction work will damage its office building.”
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly laid the foundation stone for the project from Hyderabad House in New Delhi during Oli’s visit to India eight months ago. The project was planned to be finished by June 2019, but the completion date has been moved forward by three months.
The pipeline is expected to ensure regular fuel supplies from India which are often disrupted by recurring road blocks and strikes. The estimated cost of the project is Rs4.4 billion. India will spend Rs3.2 billion while Nepal will contribute the rest, according to the bilateral agreement.
A 280-metre tunnel has been dug at a depth of 6 metres under the customs office to install the pipeline. A 1.6-km tunnel in Jitpur and a 2-km tunnel in Parwanipur have also been built.
Nepal Oil Corporation has been upgrading the capacity of its four tanks at the Amlekhgunj depot to store the oil that will be transported by the pipeline, Khanal said. Two of the tanks can hold 3,900 kilolitres each while the other two can store 4,100 kilolitres each.
After the pipeline is completed, the company will conduct radiography and hydro tests before bringing it into operation. The pipeline can deliver 250 kilolitres of fuel per hour. It will be used to import diesel in the first phase, the corporation said.
The Kathmandu Post