By Kamal Sharma,Dailekh, Jan. 1: Exploration work for petroleum products in Dailekh has been delayed due to the impediments in the upgrading of road infrastructure and land acquisition.
The Department of Mines and Geology has said that although the deadline for the contract for the exploration of petroleum products due to COVID-19 has been re-extended, the work has not started due to the delay in road infrastructure upgradation and land acquisition.
Senior Divisional Geologist of the Department of Mines and Geology Dr. Ganesh Nath Tripathi said that the deadline for the exploration of petroleum products has been extended, but there has been a delay due to the lack of road infrastructure to bring the necessary materials for exploration.
He informed that there is a problem of road infrastructure to supply materials to Nepalgunj from China via India and from there to Dailekh. The Department has conducted an on-site study and submitted the report to the ministry.
He said that there is a need to upgrade the road as the drilling equipment coming from China to Nepalgunj border via India is six metres wide, weighs 60 tons and is 15 metres long.
“The Chinese side is excited to come to Nepal soon and start drilling. We have already started the process of road upgrading and land acquisition,” he said. According to him, a proposal to acquire about 45 ropanies of land of Bhairabi Rural Municipality-1 of Dailekh is ready to be taken to the Council of Ministers.
The Department of Road has already started the road upgrading work. After the completion of the survey work on 10 seismic lines dug in three east-west and seven north-south directions for exploration, the actual study, the main drilling work for the exploration of petroleum was planned to be done in the month of October a year ago.
But the work was hampered due to the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic. “If the Chinese technical team completes the seismic survey and then confirms the presence of petroleum reserves through exploratory drilling, then under the economic analysis of the reservoir, size, type, volume, amount of petroleum that can be produced commercially will be analysed. To determine whether the proven reservoir is suitable for commercial purposes or not, the main drilling should be done,” he said.
Encouraging results were obtained from the resource and rock sample tests collected by the Chinese technical team and sufficient evidence that there may be a geological structure that can store petroleum products under the ground was also seen from the surface exploration research.
According to Tripathi, there is a strong possibility that petroleum is stored in Dailekh due to gas and oil leakages seen on the surface. An agreement was signed between the government of Nepal and the Geological Survey Company of the government of China for the exploration of petroleum products on February 28, 2019. The term of the agreement expired on February 28, 2022, and the meeting of the Council of Ministers held on March 28, 2022 extended the deadline by two years.