The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM), has urged the Federal Government to work towards ending the location of Liquefied Petroleum Gas skids at petrol stations across the country.
The President of NALPGAM, Mr Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, who condemned the indiscriminate citing of plants at the association’s Governing Council Meeting in Lagos, urged relevant government agencies, particularly the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), to curb the menace.
Ogieva-Okunbor said that 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.
He said: “Most stations have neglected the rules and regulation, they are now locating the 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: “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 filling station.”
“Through 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 at a briefing in Lagos.
He added: “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 because of an explosion, the fire can travel very far from the petrol station, and a whole street can be razed because 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.”
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In his words: “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.”
The National Deputy President, NALPGAM, Olatunbosun Oladapo, said DPR has given a deadline to all skid owners to relocate their skids from the filling stations by end of the year, maintaining that the move was laudable to safeguard lives and property.
“We are significant stakeholders in this business and we cannot be left out. Our interest must be adequately represented. Nobody feels the pain like we do, we are the ones wearing the shoe. We have invested huge resources into the business and we know what we do to get gas to end-users. Portfolio investors should not be the ones representing us to make decisions about the way to improve the usage of gas in Nigeria,” he added.
He said: “This removal of VAT on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), popularly known as cooking gas, has crashed the price of cooking gas by about 30 per cent in the market. Currently, a 12.5kg bottle of gas which was N4,300 now sells for between N2,500 and N2,700 and has also deepened household usage of gas. If achieved, Nigeria will join the league of nations with high level of LPG consumption.”
A member of the governing council, Mr John Yakubu, said there is no technology to prevent leaking of gas at the point of disengagement during filling of gas into cylinders.
He said: “What we have across of the world is LPG bottling plants and not filling stations. For an LPG plant to be established, there are certain standards that have to be met by the operator either the operator has a mini LPG bottling plant or an LPG bottling plant.
“We are appealing to those deploying the skids either by their filling stations to adhere strictly to a standard operating procedure as laid down by DPR. We should not because of profit set the nation on fire. There is no place in the world where LPG is sold together with petrol in the world. This is our position.”