About 77.4 percent of 659 Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) stations in the country have been labelled as high-risk by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).
The NPA said a risk assessment exercise of all LPG Refilling Plants across the country revealed that 510 out of 659 were found to pose high-risk to lives and property, while 115 were categorised as medium-risk. Another 32 were seen as low-risk.
The authority said it carried out the risk assessment after last year’s disaster at Atomic Junction in Accra where a gas station exploded – killing seven people while leaving over 100 injured, and causing damage to property worth thousands of cedis.
At a National Petroleum Safety campaign in Accra, CEO of the NPA, Alhassan Tampuli, said the risk assessment exercise took into consideration the siting, engineering, equipment conditions, safety management systems, staff and facility management, materials and fabrication of the LPG stations.
“What this means is that all these high-risk stations will subsequently be converted into cylinder distribution centres under the Cylinder Recirculation Model. They will no longer be permitted to fill cylinders or autogas when the CRM fully rolls out. Low-risk stations will, however, be considered for autogas refilling centres only with improved standards.”
He also explained that it is important for the public to understand the risks and dangers of not using petroleum products safely, and any unconventional use of petroleum products without seeking expert advice.
Speaking at the event, Deputy-Minister of Energy in charge of Finance and Infrastructure, Joseph Cudjoe, said despite the dangers of poor safety in the industry, some few interest group(s) are bent on frustrating efforts at streamlining the downstream sector.
The Ghanaian public, he said, has become impatient with government and regulators on the repeated cases of explosions, and are therefore not ready to take excuses any longer. This, Mr. Cudjoe added, “places greater responsibility on us to act decisively, strengthen our regulatory standards and enforce the standards”.
The safety campaign was launched in 2017 by the NPA, to draw attention to the industry’s collective responsibility to operate safely.
This culminated in the signing of a safety declaration agreement for the industry to commit to safer operations. In order to sustain this practice, the campaign is being sustained this year to raise awareness.