Narendra Modi, Oli launch South Asia's first cross-border petroleum pipeline

Narendra Modi, Oli launch South Asia's first cross-border petroleum pipeline

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Oli on Tuesday jointly inaugurated the first ever cross-border petroleum pipeline in South Asia that will ensure uninterrupted fuel supplies to landlocked Nepal to meet its energy demands at a lower cost.

The 69 km-long Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline was inaugurated by the two leaders via a video link from their respective capitals.

The pipeline, which starts from Motihari in Bihar and ends at Amlekhgunj in Nepal, is the first of its kind in the South Asia, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said in a statement.

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), India’s largest refiner, built the pipeline, with an investment of over Rs 324 crore, in collaboration with Nepal Oil Corporation Ltd (NOCL), fulfilling the commitment made under an MoU signed in August 2014.

The two sides are also working to build additional storage facility at Amlekhgunj depot which will augment the storage of petroleum products in Nepal, and the NOCL has committed an estimated Rs 75 crore towards this.

Reiterating India’s commitment to Nepal’s development, PM Modi said the bilateral projects conceived by the two countries are progressing well and he hoped to jointly inaugurate them with his Nepal counterpart in the coming days.

Modi pointed out that it was constructed in a “record time”.

While the deadline was 30 months, it was readied in just 15 months after the ground breaking ceremony was held last year during Oli’s visit to India. Every year, the pipeline will carry two million metric tonne of clean petroleum products at an affordable price to Nepal.

Oli said that the pipeline was a big achievement for Nepal. “We (India and Nepal) have similar visions of development, prosperity, and happiness of our people, backed up by solid political commitment and strong determination to realise them,” he said.