| March 26, 2017
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Technical survey of petroleum pipeline project by June

KATHMANDU, June 2: The construction of Raxaul-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline is now expected to move forward Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) are preparing to conduct a joint engineering survey of the cross-border project within June.

The engineering survey carried out by experts of both the countries will finalize all technical issues of the projects related to laying pipes and other safety and security measures that need to be put in place. IOC will announce tender for contractor to construct the pipeline after the engineering survey is completed, according to NOC officials.
"NOC and IOC are soon holding a joint meeting of their technical teams. Similarly, a separate meeting of higher authorities is being held within two weeks to discuss the proposed route," Mukunda Ghimire, spokesperson of NOC, said.

According to Ghimire, survey of pipeline route will begin after these meetings.

Among others, both the parties have prioritized Amlekhgunj-Patlaiya-Jitpur-Birgunj-Raxaul route for the construction of the 41-km pipeline, finding it more feasible than other routes which go through forests.

Ghimire said that the joint technical team will survey this route.

Bhanubhakta Khanal, deputy director of NOC and the Nepal coordinator of the Raxaul-Amlekhgunj Pipeline Project, said that the survey team will determine minimum standards of every technical issue that might come across while laying pipes. "We are for to laying pipes in right-of-way format which means laying pipes along the finalized road route," Khanal said, adding: "The technical team which comprises of more than a dozen engineers will go through the route and finalize even the minute technical and security issues."

If things go as planned, Khanal said that the engineering survey of this route will begin within June.

Though Nepal and India had signed the cross-border pipeline agreement in August last year, the project has failed to take off so far due to obstructions created by earthquake and border blockade. The petroleum pipeline review meeting between NOC and IOC held in the first week of May, however, gave momentum to the project.

As per the agreement signed in August last year, the pipeline project is estimated to cost IRs 2.75 billion. The Indian government is giving IRs 2 billion for development of the project as grant assistance. Nepal will chip in IRs 750 million. While Indian investment will be used to lay pipes, Nepali investment will be used to restructure and automate the Amlekhgunj depot of NOC and build a pumping station.

In the first phase, pipeline will be laid from Raxaul to Amlekhgunj. It will be extended up to Kathmandu in the second phase. The project is expected to be completed within 30 months.
Sujan Dhungana

Sujan Dhungana is associated with Republica English Daily since July 2013. He has been writing and reporting in business issues with primary focus on transportation, industry, commerce and supplies, gadgets, fuel and dairy reporting.    
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