NOC in fix as bidders quote high priceWith private firms quoting high price for petroleum supply, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is in a fix over whether to move ahead with the process of importing fuel through them.
With private firms quoting high price for petroleum supply, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is in a fix over whether to move ahead with the process of importing fuel through them.
According to NOC, the lowest price quoted is double the rate consumers are paying currently. NOC officials said the minimum price quoted for petrol is Rs199 per litre and for diesel Rs180 per litre.
The fuels currently retail at Rs104 per litre and Rs81 per litre, respectively. After Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) cut supply drastically adhering to India’s undeclared trade embargo on Nepal, NOC had invited expression of interest (EoI) last week, seeking bidders to procure oil from any country through any medium on a daily basis for at least 15 days. The measure was taken to ease fuel crisis ahead of the country’s biggest festivals—Dashain and Tihar.
NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka said they were holding talks with government agencies concerned on the matter.
“As the price is too high, the government should decide whether to procure petroleum with these firms and who should pay the price,” he said, speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce, Industries and Consumer Welfare Relation. Khadka said the lowest bid has proposed bringing oil from a oil refinery based in India’s Assam state through the Kakarvitta customs point.
“Prices quoted by other firms are even higher, he said without naming any bidder. NOC said 22 domestic and foreign firms, including IOC, expressed interest to supply oil.
The state-owned oil monopoly has already permitted Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to import aviation turbine fuel. Khadka said the NAC sells the fuel to NOC at Rs176 per litre. The retail price of ATF stands at Rs118 per litre. The national flag carrier has already imported 22,000 litres of the fuel.
Ready to import oil from China: NOC
NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka said the corporation was ready to import petroleum products from China if the government takes a decision on the matter. Amid the India-imposed embargo, importing oil from China has been considered as an alternative. Although the government has inquired about the possibility of importing oil from China, it has not yet taken any decision. “We have already written an official letter to the Commerce Ministry for exploring the option of importing oil from China,” said Khadka, at a Parliamentary committee meeting.
“The government should initiate talks at the diplomatic-level for the purpose.” Meanwhile, the NOC on Thursday sent its team to New Delhi, India, to hold talks with IOC officials and other Indian government agencies concerned.
Khadka said the team would draw the attention of Indian officials on the NOC-IOC contract that was signed in 2012 which bars the IOC from interrupting oil supply.