Nepal: Nepal Oil Corporation Retracts ‘Model Fuel Stations’ Promotion

Nepal: Nepal Oil Corporation Retracts ‘Model Fuel Stations’ Promotion

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had earlier put forward a plan to promote the construction of high-tech fuel stations, popularly known as ‘model fuel stations’ across the country, from which it has now retracted.

NOC had introduced the concept of such high-tech fuel stations through the Distribution Bylaw of Petroleum Products a year back, following which it already issued licenses to almost three dozen firms to construct model fuel stations. However, not even a single fuel dealer who acquired the license started the construction of the model fuel station, after which the concept was found infeasible by NOC.

NOC is consequently preparing to amend the Distribution Bylaw of Petroleum Products once again prioritizing to smarten up existing fuel stations.

Sushil Bhattarai, acting deputy managing director of NOC, said, “Though we earlier introduced the concept of model fuel stations, it seems to be infeasible basically because construction of such fuel stations requires huge space and investment. As investors are more focused on setting up such fuel service stations in city areas, land availability in cities is difficult.”

The bylaw states that model fuel stations need to fulfil various parameters and it will cost at least Rs 10 million to construct a model station. As per regulation, such fuel stations need to be built on 13 ropanis of land in Tarai region and on five ropanis of land in Hilly and Himalayan areas.

These fuel stations also need to ensure regular water, power supply and must have at least two washrooms for men, four washrooms for women and one for handicapped people. Similarly, such stations must also have ample parking space, well-managed drainage and separate sales counters for fuel and diesel, along with high-capacity fuel storage facility.

Bhattarai added that it is because of the infeasibility that investors are still not coming forward to construct such fuel service stations in spite of acquiring licenses.

A few firms which acquired the license to construct model stations have approached NOC citing their inability to construct such fuel stations. However, NOC is gearing up to make all fuel stations across the country smart and technology-friendly, which includes promoting digital payment and billing system in every fuel station.

There are almost 2,500 fuel stations across Nepal. In the long run, automation of fuel stations is necessary because NOC plans to implement daily fuel price adjustment system in the country. PWKD02082018

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