The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has urged Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant operators to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of end users of cooking gas in Kaduna state, North-West Nigeria.
The DPR North West Zonal Operational Controller, Mr Isa Tafida, gave the task at a one-day stakeholders’ sensitization meeting.
Tafida said relevant agencies were taking necessary regulatory measures to ensure only licensed operators dispensed the commodity to consumers.
He noted that the recent gas explosion at Sabo Tasha and the proliferation of LPG plants and retailers across the state informed the need to enlighten stakeholders on the requirements to adopt and adhere strictly to Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in dispensing gas to consumers.
“Sensitizing both operators and consumers became necessary to prevent future occurrence,” he said.
Eight persons lost their lives while four others sustained various degrees of injury and property worth millions of Naira were destroyed in an acetylene gas explosion on January 4 at Sabo Tasha, Kaduna.
Following the incident, the State Government banned retailing of cooking gas within residential areas.
The government had also shut down more than 87 gas retail outlets in Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan areas.
“LPG is an excellent environmentally friendly fuel with hundreds of millions of satisfied consumers in every part of the world.
“However, like all forms of energy, LPG is potentially hazardous if mishandled. Thus, the need to ensure adherence to standard operating procedure in handling the commodity.
“As the department desires to actualize the Federal Government’s aspiration of LPG penetration, prevent indiscriminate cutting of trees and checkmate desert encroachment, we call for more investment in the LPG market,” Tafida said.
The controller, however, warned the plant operators against misuse of their licence, adding that DPR will not hesitate to sanction any company functioning against the approved standard of operating procedure.
He warned that any company caught selling to illegal retailers, decanting LPG, supplying to unregistered bulk users as well as contravening safety regulations would have its licence revoked.
“The acetylene gas explosion incident that occurred on January 4, at Sabon Tasha in Kaduna, is indeed going to linger in our memories for the quantum losses it brought.
“I will like to once more use this medium to condole the families and the state government for the losses.
“Although, DPR does not regulate industrial gases, it will not hesitate in sending its best team to support other agencies of the state government in identifying the root causes and also safe evacuation of the residual gas cylinders.
“This is because of our resolute commitment to ensure the safety of life and protection of the environment.
“The Department is willing to work with other stakeholders in clamping on illegal and unlicensed retailers in the state,” Tafida said.
He said the agency had conducted 94 inspections across the 38 licensed LPG plants and in the process sealed five plants that were not operating within the law:
“The five affected plants were sealed for various offences ranging from installation and upgrade without DPR approval, contravening safety regulations and non-conformity to Standard Operating Procedures.”
In a presentation titled: ‘Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) As A Solution for safe LPG Plant Operation’, the Assistant Chief Electrical, Gas Monitoring and Refutations-Operation Engineer, Mr Baba Terab, said like all forms of energy, LPG is potentially hazardous if mishandled.
“Gas leaks, heat, valves and poor earthing system as well as electrostatic build-up are possible causes of accidents or gas explosions at gas outlets.
“Some of the hotspots operators need to lookout for in LPG plants are the discharge hose, compressor, pressure relief valves, pipe connections, platform, and car exhaust and generator room.
“Gas plant operators also need to have an alarm system, gas leak detector, fire alarm, smoke detectors in the administrative block as well as conduct training for staff through a DPR certified consultant in order to avert danger,” Terab advised.
He also urged LPG operators to have fire-fighting and emergency response equipment, in serviceable conditions at all times, while personnel engaged in LPG operations should receive formal training by competent persons for their normal activities and for emergencies.
More than 30 licenced plant operators attended the sensitization meeting.
Amaka E. Nliam