By Anayo Ezugwu
DESPITE federal government plans to compel all filling stations to commence cooking gas sales, the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, NALPGAM, has raised concern over the growing number of cooking gas skids being installed at filling stations across the country. Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, president, NALPGAM, called on the government to urgently address the indiscriminate deployment of cooking gas to filling stations and retail outlets without addressing the risks involved.
Speaking after the union’s governing council meeting in Lagos, Ogieva-Okunbor condemned the indiscriminate citing of plant in filling stations. He urged all relevant government agencies, particularly the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to curb the menace.
Ogieva-Okunbor also urged those marketers involved in such act to adhere strictly to DPR’s directives. He said the agency (DPR) has pronounced to effects dismantling of all the illegal skids cited in stations across the nation. He said both LPG and fuel were highly inflammable which needed to be on separate entities, adding that LPG cylinders were potentially and highly hazardous.
He said the association’s resolution expressed worry over the increasing number of filling stations engaged in selling of gas within the stations not minding the hazardous implications. He said the proliferation of fuel and gas-filling stations across the country had raised safety concerns, considering the less than satisfactory compliance with minimum environmental safety requirements for the operations of those facilities.
Ogieva-Okunbor said there is nowhere in the DPR guidelines and regulations that stipulated operating gas plant within fuel stations. According to him, some filling station owners are in the habit of installing ad-on gas machine later in their fuel stations, but which was not in the original building plans at the on-set.
“Most stations have neglected the rules and regulation, they are now locating gas plant in most stations across that states. Today, we see some have cited plants close to eateries’ kitchen within their stations and this is dangerous while they are discharging gas and selling fuel. We, the association, cannot open our eyes and watch for something drastic to happen before we raise alarm,” he said.
Ogieva-Okunbor, however, called on both the federal and state governments to live up to their responsibilities by checkmating the fuel stations. “The earlier government and officials act fast, the better for Nigerians. I also use this opportunity to thank the governments of Ogun and Ekiti for stopping such act and sanitising the industry in their respective states.
“The states do not allow gas plant in filling station, I also urge other states to follow suit in banning gas in fuel stations. Plant operators must be conversant with all safety needs of LPG plant operations. Gas plant should stand alone without attaching to filing station.”
The president of cooking gas marketers said most stations were trying to bastardise government’s free hands to promote and deepen cooking gas utilisation. “Though our association canvasses LPG penetration, we cannot continue to keep quiet while lives and property are endangered via this practice where LPG, petrol and diesel, which are highly inflammable, are traded side by side. If gas escapes and gets to any naked fire, the destruction, no doubt, is going to be so huge,” he said.
According to Ogieva-Okunbor, most of the petrol stations that have LPG skid plants do not have the approval of the DPR. “These gas skids were not in the initial design of the stations. There are rules and regulations guiding the sitting of such facilities. This is a serious security risk. If a fire incident happens as a result of an explosion, the fire can travel very far from the petrol station, and a whole street can be razed as a result of this.
“As a matter of urgency, the DPR should commence dismantling of such gas plants in petrol stations. Most stations have neglected the rules and regulations; they are now locating gas plants in most stations across the states. Today, we see some have sited gas skids close to eateries within their stations and this is dangerous while they are discharging gas and selling fuel.
“We, the association, cannot open our eyes and watch something drastic to happen before we raise the alarm. The earlier government and its officials act fast, the better for Nigerians. We also want the federal government to create the enabling environment for players in the industry to deepen the utilisation of LPG. We are also appealing to the government in terms of the representation that have been made on behalf of the industry has not been inclusive.
“The industry has not been well represented when issues are being discussed with the government. There are several facets of the value chain and we are requesting that in subsequent dialogues and discussions, every facet must be represented.”
According to NALPGAM president, the Nigerian LPG market is growing exponentially and increasingly being embraced by Nigerians, as such, the number of household that have embraced LPG has increased compared to the past five years.
He, however, commended the federal government for the removal of Value Added Tax, VAT, on domestic LPG in Nigeria, saying that this would further encourage local manufacturers in the LPG industry while also deepening LPG utilisation and commercialisation in the country.
– Sept. 20, 2019 @ 17:55 GMT |