Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) outlets will no longer be allowed to refill cylinders at their plants under a comprehensive national policy aimed at halting gas explosions at gas filling outlets. Under the policy, soon to be rolled out by the Ministry of Energy, all cylinders will be filled by cylinder bottling plants for onward delivery to retail outlets.
What this means is that individuals, restaurants and organisations that use LPG cylinders will now go to LPG retail outlets with their empty cylinders, pick up filled ones and pay for them upfront. The new method can be likened to the way some bottled drinks, such as Coca Cola, are sold in Ghana.
Giving a brief background of the project to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Hassan Tampuli, said: “This is a radical national LPG policy that will drastically change the way things were done in the past.”
He said the cylinder bottling companies would be solely responsible for the cylinders that would be handed over to the public. “They will be in charge of safety and quality checks. This will go a long way to save the lives of innocent Ghanaians,” he said.
Ministry to introduce policy
Mr Tampuli stressed that the ultimate aim of the government was to forestall incidents of gas explosions which had so far claimed many innocent lives in the country. According to him, the Ministry of Energy would announce a detailed plan for the policy to the public soon. He explained that the ministry was expected to set out the modalities and timelines for the policy. Currently, Benin, Tanzania, Kenya and some East African countries are implementing a similar LPG programme. “The issue of gas explosions is of grave concern to the government and it is the commitment of the ministry, the NPA and all stakeholders to bring the problem to an end,” Mr Tampuli said.
Ghana has witnessed many gas explosions in recent times, all of them resulting in hundreds losing their lives, while more than 500 people have been injured. The most recent ones occurred in Takoradi in the Western Region on May 9, 2017 and at La Trade Fair area in Accra on December 22, 2016.
More than 100 people, including firemen, got injured in the Takoradi gas explosion. According to eyewitnesses and officials from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the explosion occurred when a gas tanker was discharging gas close to a Total Fuel Station on the Sekondi-Takoradi road. Thirteen people died in the gas explosion at the La Trade Fair area.
Mr Tampuli said all the explosions could have been avoided if the necessary measures had been put in place. He said the NPA was on course to ensuring that all gas filling plants and fuel filling stations adhered to safety standards, while new policies were rolled out to avoid needless explosions.