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"China can emerge as a long-term oil source"

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WM Correspondent

With the Indian embargo creating chronic fuel shortage, Nepal is pinning hopes on China for its support to mitigate such crisis.

In fact, the northern neighbor also appears generous when it comes to helping Nepal overcome this problem.

The Chinese side has already offered 1.3 million liters of fuel as gift and is ready to supply petroleum products commercially to Nepal.

Notably, the petrol gifted by China is of Euro IV standard while that imported from India is of just Euro III standard.

Last week, the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and China National United Oil Corporation (PetroChina) even signed an MoU in Beijing to supply petroleum products to Nepal.

The MoU has at least enabled Nepal to fulfil one-third of its fuel requirement from China.

Notably, it represented not only a historic milestone in the Nepal-China relationship but also broke a four-decade supply monopoly of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

In the context of IOC duping the NOC by halting petroleum supplies, PetroChina, of course, can emerge as a long-term oil partner for the NOC.

 Nepali officials also seem to be wishing the same as they are asking their Chinese counterparts to continue supplying petroleum products commercially.

The NOC and Petro China are required to ink another commercial agreement if China is really to become a fuel source for Nepal for  the long run.

According to the NOC, it is serious to chalk out a modality  on the required quantity, transportation route, quality and pricing before inking the larger commercial deal.

Bring Chinese oil smoothly to Nepal will not be like a wild goose chasing.  PetroChina already has a depot in Shigatse from where it is distributing oil to regions bordering Nepal. Moreover, the Chinese government plans to extend the Shigatse railway to Kyirong across the border from Nepal with few years.

There is also high possibility that Nepal will get Chinese gasoline at a cheaper rate. Both the Nepali and Chinese officials are also talking on the issue of exempting taxes on the gasoline to be imported from China.

Remarkably, Nepali and Chinese customs officials have also lately agreed to reopen the Tatopani-Khasa route by constructing the necessary infrastructure on either side of the border at the earliest.

The highway, the main conduit of trade between the two neighbouring countries, was damaged by the April 25 earthquake.

Besides operating the route, the two sides also decided to form joint teams to conduct a feasibility study on opening other border points between the two countries.

Nepal has established customs offices at seven other border points—Chhoser VDC in Mustang, Larke in Gorkha, Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha, Lama-bagar in Dolakha, Yari in Humla, Mugu VDC in Mugu and Olangchungola in Taple-jung.

 Of course, they are now mostly used for cross-border trade by people close to the border. But these points can well prove crucial in ensuring regular supplies of necessary goods including fuel from China. 


Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 1:39 pm


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