The maximum storage capacity a Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) station can have is 20 tonnes, the National Petroleum Authority has directed following the tough stance taken by Cabinet to forestall the deadly gas explosions the nation is becoming ill-reputed for.
Appearing before parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee, CEO of the NPA Alhassan Tampuli said gas stations that flout the directive will be sanctioned or closed down.
Any station that stores gas beyond 20 tonnes will be classified as ‘high-risk’ he said, warning dealers to take note.
He also added that gas stations that operate less than 20 tonnes will be used for auto-gas, which means vehicles that use gas can refill at those stations.
Following the gas explosion at Atomic Junction in Accra on October 7, 2017, Cabinet gave the NPA a nine-point directive to implement in a bid to help prevent more explosions.
Cabinet directed the NPA to among other things undertake rigorous inspections of gas stations across the country, and to review the current licencing regime to ensure that only dealers with demonstrable capacity, competence and vision are allowed to operate.
The NPA boss also disclosed that the much-talked-about Cylinder Recirculation Model of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution will be introduced in 2019.
This model means that LPG bottling plants will be sited away from congested commercial and population centres; and will procure, brand, maintain and fill empty cylinders to be distributed to consumers and households through retail outlets. Low risk stations will be designated for the supply of gas to vehicles.
NPA inspecting over 600 gas filling stations
Following the Cabinet directive, the NPA began inspecting some 600 LPG filling stations across the country.
The NPA boss told the committee that his outfit, which is undertaking the inspection exercise with sector agencies, hopes to finish within the next two weeks.
So far, 299 LPG stations have been inspected – with some 43 closed down and a further 35 earmarked for closure.
Mr. Tampuli said about 35 gas filling stations are to close down soon, when they finish selling their current stocks, for failing the safety checks and other requirements.
“We have marked 35 outlets for closedown when the level of their stocks come to manageable levels for us to be able to close them down. It is more dangerous to leave the stations with the products that they have rather than allowing them to sell off and close down.
“Out of the 299 [LPG filling stations] 132 were in full compliance, and out of the number that we closed down we have reopened 34. So, if you add the 34 to the ones that we have closed down it should have been 77; but they have been able to meet the safety protocols so we have reopened them. So, we have 43 currently closed down. We’ve been doing this work with the multi-stakeholder committee. The new addition is the Ghana Standards Authority, and together we have been doing some review of the process that we need to put in place to arrest such situations,” he added.