The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) plans to build a new oil terminal at Motihari in Bihar to supply fuel to neighbour Nepal through the planned pipeline up to Amlekganj in Nepal. The old terminal at Raxaul, also in the same Indian state, will be closed, according to an IOC official.In August 2015, the Indian and Nepalese governments signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a product pipeline, and subsequently IOC and Nepal Oil Corporation entered into a MoU for laying down of the pipeline by the Indian company. Initially, the plan was to lay the pipeline from Raxaul to Amlekganj, but it was later decided to extend it till Motihari.
“The Raxaul terminal is a pre-OISD (Oil Industry Safety Directorate) terminal and it is not meeting the current OISD guidelines. IOC has taken a decision to shift the terminal to Motihari to meet the current safety guidelines. The terminal at Raxaul will be closed,” said Anish Aggarwal, director-pipelines, IOC. OISD is a technical directorate under the ministry of petroleum and natural gas which formulates the regulatory measures to enhance safety of the Indian oil and gas industry. The 69-km Motihari-Amlekganj pipeline will be built by IOC at an approved cost of `325 crore.
The Nepal government has accorded the pipeline project a national priority status and is looking to get clearances from various authorities. Simultaneously, IOC has started the process of tendering for procuring mainline pipes. “The detailed engineering works are over. We are preparing tender for laying the pipeline as well as installation of facilities at both ends,” Aggarwal added. India recently extended the fuel supply agreement with Nepal to five years. The nation receives around 2 lakh kilo litres of fuel from IndianOil every month.
Meanwhile, as per the initial agreement, a new 200-km pipeline at a cost of `700 crore is being laid between Patna and Motihari and will be used in case the new terminal at Motihari is not operational by the time the pipeline to Nepal is ready. A pipeline between Barauni, having a refinery from where fuel can be pumped, and Patna already exists. IOC is in the process of acquiring environmental clearances for the Motihari terminal. IOC expects to operationalise the Motihari-Amlekganj pipeline after 30 months of receiving statutory clearances. “We are hopeful to start laying the pipeline in September,” Aggarwal added.
Nepal, however, wants to extend the pipeline up to Chitwan and IOC has been asked to prepare a detailed feasibility report (DFR) “At the moment the discussion is for DFR, but it will depend on the discussion if we will participate in constructing that portion of the pipeline,” he said.