22 February 2015, Doula – At the Cameroon Petroleum Depot, (Société Camerounaise des Dépots Pétroliere, SCDP), there is no more talk of gas scarcity.
The filling capacity of the depot has increased from 60,000 tonnes to 90,000 tonnes annually.
Talk of liquefied petroleum gas or what is fondly called domestic gas being scarce is no longer news to Cameroonians. On the contrary, its availability throughout the year, especially during end-of-year feasts, arouses concern.
In its Yaounde depot in the Nsam neighbourhood now exists a 500-tonne storage facility, while the Douala depot hosts facilities of 150 tonnes, “always filled with gas.” SCDP never lacks liquefied petroleum gas and any scarcity with the seven affiliated distributors including Aza, Afrigaz, Camgaz, Corlay, SCTM, Oilibya, Tradex and Total, is artificial,” the Head of the Centre for refilling gas cylinders, Robert Essomba, told Cameroon Tribune on February 16, 2015.
Officials of the structure say gas scarcity was common when the company used analogue equipment to refill cylinders. By then, manual weighing scales could refill 3,200 cylinders of 12.5 kg per day. With the advent of state-of-the-art weighing scales, production has risen from 1,380 cylinders of 12.5 kgs filled hourly with over 14, 000 of such cylinders filled daily. According to the General Manager of SCDP, Gaston Eloundou Essomba, the company is able to produce twice the actual demand, which stands at over 6,400 cylinders a day in the Centre, East and South Regions. Nationally the company produces over 90,000 tonnes yearly up from 60,000 in 2013, revealed the Chief of the Yaounde Depot, Malloum Bra. He explained that the market has witnessed exponential progress. The growth rate, he said, was 14 per cent annually.
At the filling unit, work is full scale. Fleets of heavy-duty trucks distributing gas make rounds at the unit. Workers are at full gear, but say the task has been made lighter by the state-of-the-art refilling and weighing scales as compared to the hitherto old fashioned manual scales that did not only take them time, but also made them waste energy. In all, 23 weighing scales oscillate with cylinders and are automatically refilled with gas after which workers stationed along the scales verify it under the strict supervision of the Head of Centre.
Gas is refilled in 23 cylinders of 12.5 kgs within a minute, with well over 1,380 cylinders in an hour. “No gas cylinder leaves our filing unit half full and no distributor or consumer can point fingers at us for any such practice,” Robert Essomba explained. He showed how half-filled and sealed cylinders are detected and rejected along the production chain. Such cylinders, he explained, are immediately refilled and resealed before being secured and handed to suppliers