OMCs to be schooled on international best practices

Operators and Chief Executive Officers of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketing Companies (LPGMCs) are to be schooled on environmental safety and international best practices to inject modern operations in the downstream sector.

The training being organised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with StillWaters Technologies Incorporate which is a subsidiary of Earning.Com Incorporate is to equip participants with the technical know-how to be conversant with the hazardous and inflammable nature of the product they are handling.

It would also assist operators in the downstream sector to become knowledgeable and familiar with the safety control systems at the installations; exposed to safe product handling; understanding of loading and off-loading protocols and exposed to how to handle emergencies during spillages and leakages.

Mrs Cindy Badoe, EPA Deputy Director and Head of Built Environment Department in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Monday explained that petroleum downstream sector continued to experience astronomical growth over the past decade due to the Government’s deregulation policy.

She said the growth had come with its own advantages and disadvantages including accessibility of the products, and job creation, with the numerous explosions in the country resulting in loss of lives and property.

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Mrs Badoe said EPA’s investigations had revealed that the explosions were mainly caused by negligence, inexperience and lack of training on the part of the workers along the entire value chain.

“In simple terms, most of the people working do not have the requisite technical knowledge and skills to work in this specialised industry,” she said, stressing that EPA as a regulator in accordance with the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999 (LI 1652) is embarking on the training to equip operators with skills aimed at reducing explosions and other risk associated with the sector.

She said the EPA since 2015 instituted a number of measures to prevent the re-occurrence of accidents in the downstream petroleum sector by intensifying its compliance and enforcement monitoring to ensure compliance with permitting conditions.

“EPA has also acquired a Volatil Organic Compounds (VOC) Analyser to conduct research into the levels of VOCs and around the immediate vicinity of the retail outlets intended to put rest to public outcry about the siting of fuel service stations close to residential areas.

“Our field officers now check for functionality of safety control system in place.

We have also reviewed our internal structures to ensure efficiency, amongst others,” she said.

Mrs Badoe said as a proactive measure, the EPA now worked in close collaboration with the other regulatory institutions.

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“The next critical intervention is building the capacities of workers along the supply chain to equip them with the technical knowledge, skills and competences required to ensure that explosions are eliminated from industry, safe guard the huge investment made by entrepreneurs and above all to ensure public safety.

“It is for these reasons that the EPA has engaged the services of Stillwaters Technologies Inc, a subsidiary of Inc. an accredited international consultants based in the USA to train and certify operators in industry for the next three years.

The training and certification is long overdue and it is my expectation that the CEOs will embrace its implementation to introduce professionalism into this very important sector.

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