Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Motihari-Amalekhganj Petroleum Pipeline via remote from his office in New Delhi and his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli from his office in Kathmandu.
Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri said in June that the pipeline would be a ‘game changer’ for Nepal. The Motihari-Amalekhganj pipeline will help to overcome the problem of oil storage in Nepal. According to Puri, this project will not only give relief in price but is also environmentally friendly.
Fuel will be transported from a pipeline going from Barauni refinery in Bihar’s Begusarai district to Amalekhganj in southeast Nepal. According to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) spokesperson Birendra Goit, the coming of the 69 km pipeline will significantly reduce expenditure on fuel transport between India and Nepal. Amalekhganj is situated on the Raxaul border in East Champaran district. Amalekhganj fuel depot will have a storage capacity of 16,000 kiloliters of petroleum products.
The proposal for this pipeline project was first introduced in the year 1996 but the process was very slow. It gained momentum following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in 2014. Subsequently in 2015 the governments of both countries signed an agreement for the project. However, political tension with Nepal hindered the project. In 2017, the state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed the Petroleum Trade Agreement, according to which around 1.3 million tonnes of fuel would be sent to Nepal every year and doubled by 2020. In July, the two countries also successfully tested transfers via the oil pipeline.
Initially the cost of the project was estimated at Rs 275 crore, out of which India had to bear an expenditure of Rs 200 crore. Subsequently, the NOC reported that the total cost of the project has gone up and will cost around Rs 325 crore. NOC Deputy Executive Director Sushil Bhattarai said, “The commercial operation of the cross-border fuel project will reduce the fuel price by at least about Rs. 1 per liter.”