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India and Nepal have agreed to explore the possibilities of laying pipelines for supply of liquified petroleum gas and natural gas to fertilizer plants and industries in the land-locked Himalayan nation, India's petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.
Pradhan arrived here on Friday on a two-day visit and held discussions with various authorities and other dignitries. "Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) will work together on these projects," Pradhan told reporters after the conclusion of a bilateral meeting with Nepal's minister for industry, commerce and supply Matrika Prasad Yadav.
During the meeting both the leaders comprehensively reviewed the bilateral energy cooperation and agreed to complete pipeline work from Motihari in India (Bihar) to Amlekhgunj in Nepal at the earliest.
In 2015, the two governments had signed an agreement to lay a 69-km Motihari-Amlekhganj pipeline. Nepal is now seeking extension of the natural gas and LPG pipelines along the same route.
India is currently building the oil pipeline between Motihari and Amlekhgunj that will ensure smooth, cost-effective and environment-friendly supply of petroleum products to Nepal. So far, a 17-km stretch of the 36.2-km section of the pipeline, which lies on the Nepal side, has been over, according to the NOC.
The gas pipeline will result in savings of around Rs 2 billion annually for Nepal by eliminating tanker trucks. Diesel and cooking gas accounted for 80 per cent of the total fuel import bill of Rs 170 billion last fiscal, the Kathmandu Post reported.
Earlier, Pradhan called on Nepal's acting prime minister Ishwor Pokharel and discussed progress of the petroleum products pipeline and other oil and gas projects being carried out by India. He also met home minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and discussed bilateral issues.
Pradhan also met Nepal's minister for education, science and technology Girirajmani Pokhrael and discussed areas of cooperation in skill development and entrepreneurship. He also paid a courtesy call to president Bidya Devi Bhandari.
The minister visited famous Hindu shrine Pashupatinath and offered prayers in the evening. On Saturday, he will visit Janakpur and worship at the historic Janaki temple. "He will also visit the site identified for proposed Skill Development Centre in Dhanushadham," Indian embassy sources said.
Before wrapping up his visit, Pradhan is scheduled to visit Amlekhganj to see the progress made in the Motihari-Amlekhganj oil pipeline project.
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