Imports: Bhutan imported 1.7 percent less fuel last year compared to 2013 but still had to pay more.
The country imported 166,433.64 kilo litres (KL) of fuel worth Nu 8.4B. In 2013, the total volume imported was 169,315.33KL for Nu 7.9B.
The maximum drop occurred for diesel fuel, decreasing by 5,151KL in 2014. Diesel is mainly used in hydropower projects, farm road constructions and the transport sector or for heavy vehicles.
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) executive director for West Bengal, YK Gupta attributed the decrease in imports to improved vehicle engine efficiency while trade officials said the reasons are mainly domestic.
Trade department officials said that it could be because of the vehicle ban, which was only recently lifted, and reduced activities in the construction sector and less economic activity with the unavailability of loans.
The fuel prices rose several times within the year.
This was revealed during the renewal of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the trade department and the IOCL, yesterday.
IOCL supplied more than 50 percent of the fuel demand in the country last year. In 2013, its market share was only 47.12 percent and the rest was supplied by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
The MOU requires the company to ensure that it meets the fuel requirements of the country within its purview.
The IOCL executive director said that it is even willing to increase the number of outlets if the government proposes.
The company has to reach the fuel to the three entry points at Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samtse. It would also share new developments in terms of technology and human resource development at its outlets in the country.
YK Gupta said that oil companies were also trying to produce more environmentally friendly fuel and in 2017, Euro 4, a more refined fuel will hit depots in the country.
By Tshering Palden