The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has cautioned on the risks associated with allowing Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, skids to be installed at petrol stations nationwide and called on the regulatory authorities to act to reverse the ugly trend.
The President of the association, Mr Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, who raised the security concern at the group’s Governing Council Meeting in Lagos, condemned the indiscriminate citing of skid plant in stations in view of the risks to lives and properties.
To tackle the menace, Ogieva-Okunbor called on the government to immediately stop the indiscriminate location of LPG facilities at filling stations and retail outlets without addressing the risks involved.
Specifically, he called on the relevant agencies, particularly the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to ensure that such facilities are relocated from filling stations by directing marketers involved in such unsafe acts to adhere strictly to DPR’s directives.
While noting that the DPR has already directed the dismantling of all the illegal skids located in filling stations nationwide, the LPG marketer explained that the association had condemned the practice, especially when the number of filling stations engaged in selling of gas within the stations not minding the hazardous implications are increasing by the day.
Ogieva-Okunbor pointed out further that there was nowhere in the DPR guidelines and regulations that approved the operation of gas plant within fuel stations.
He explained that the menace was growing because some filling station owners were installing ad-on gas machine later in their fuel stations, but which was not in the original building plans at the on-set.
The NALPGAM President clarified: “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. 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,” Ogieva-Okunbor said.
The president of cooking gas marketers said that 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
“These gas skids were not in the initial design of the stations. There are rules and regulations guiding the siting 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”, Ogieva-Okunbor added.
He, however, commended the government for the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on domestic LPG, noting that the fiscal regime will encourage more local manufacturers to invest in the LPG industry as well as deepen LPG utilisation and commercialisation in the country.
In his remarks, NALPGAM’s Deputy President,, Olatunbosun Oladapo, disclosed that DPR had given end-year deadline to all skid owners to relocate their skids from the filling stations.
He described the directive as a desirable step towards averting disasters that may be linked to gas explosions in filling stations nationwide.