23 December 2014, Lagos – The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, NALPGAM, has warned that the growing indiscriminate siting of gas facilities in different parts of the country poses a great danger to the citizenry.
The warning came against the backdrop of the recent gas explosion in the premises of Babson Gas Nigeria Limited, Akure, Ondo State, which left eight persons critically injured and destroyed 42 houses and shops worth millions of Naira. Expressing NALPGAM’s concern, the Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Olufunke Eleyinmi said that both the federal and state governments should monitor the various gas facilities scattered all over the country with a view to identifying the unlicensed ones.
She also said that NALPGAM has disassociated itself from the owner of the illegal facility. “NALPGAM dissociates itself from the owner of the gas facility. He is not a member of NALPGAM and has no license to operate.
“We need to know who approved the siting of the skid gas facility in that area. Who gave the license and when was it given? DPR is the government agency responsible to give out such licenses. It would not have issued license to that facility. We use this opportunity to condole with the government and people of Ondo State. One explosion can send the entire country into chaos,” she said.
Vanguard learnt that the owner of Babson Gas Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ololade applied to undertake such venture in May this year, but the state government rejected his application ostensibly due to the fact that the environment is not conducive for such business outfit. However, he snubbed government’s directive and went ahead to build the facility in the area. Also, government officials it was gathered have been collecting revenue from the owner of the gas outlet despite the non approval of such business venture in that location.
A gas plant has a minimum space to occupy. According to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) interim guidelines for LPG Add-On in Retail Outlet obtained by Vanguard, LPG-ADD-ON operation is the introduction of LP gas refilling activities in licensed retail outlet. The expected allowable LPG storage capacity is supposed to be one tonne to five tonnes.
For applications on LPG storage capacity greater than five metric tonnes, the applicant must apply for a stand-alone, fully autonomous gas plant.
“The possibility of a major fire outbreak, leading to direct flame impingement on a storage vessel, can be minimized by sound engineering, plant design and layout. Of similar importance are good operating practices and the proper instruction and training of personnel on both routine operation and on action to be taken in emergency,” DPR guideline stated.
According to the DPR, it will frequently monitor LPG operations based on the level of risks, amount of product, familiarity with company operation, procedure and track records. It explained that it may stop any LPG operation or prohibit planned operations due to safety concerns or unacceptable risk.