The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is to embark on a National Petroleum Safety Campaign to engage all stakeholders in the petroleum downstream industry and the general public on the collective responsibility of safety. Dubbed “People Safety First”, the goal of the campaign is to minimize accidents in the petroleum industry in Ghana. Discussing ‘the spate of gas explosions and the way forward’ on Ghana Television flagship programme ‘Talking Point’, the Chief Executive of NPA, Alhassan Tampuli said the Authority was “meeting the Chief Executives of the petroleum service providers somewhere next week to collate their views on how best we can jointly prevent petroleum related accidents in the country.”
He was concerned about the recent fires in the industry and the lives that were lost to these accidents and the properties destroyed. “We are working to improve the situation. Safety is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders. We must all join hands to see our industry become safer and healthier,” he added. He entreated petroleum service providers to adhere to safety protocols; “consumers must abide by safety guidelines on the use of petroleum products and the NPA as regulator will monitor and continue to enforce safety standards through inspections and sanctions.” The Director of Public Relations, Divisional Officer (DO)1 Prince Billy Anaglate who was also on the panel entreated owners of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plants and fuel stations to adhere strictly to fire safety regulations in their operations in order to reduce fire outbreaks at the stations.
The service has also urged drivers of fuel tankers to participate in the fire safety education programmes it has rolled out to equip them with fire prevention skills. In a related development, Chief Executive of the NPA, Mr. Alhassan Tampuli has commenced series of safety sensitization workshops for Tanker Drivers, Tanker Owners, Dealers, retailer and oil marketing companies on the need to improve safety standards in their operations to prevent accidents. The sensitization workshops were held in Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi as prelude to the launch of the National Petroleum Safety Campaign in June 2017. The launch of the national safety campaign will be followed by a safety workshop for Petroleum Service Providers (PSPs) in all regional capitals. There will also be stakeholders’ engagements with the media, organized labour, civil society organization and the consumer interest groups to sensitize them on safety to disseminate the safety message to all sections of the society.
Speaking at the safety workshop, Mr. Tampuli reminded the Petroleum Service Providers petroleum products were hazardous and must be handled with maximum attention. He also revealed the NPA would institute a “Safety Day” as a clarion call to the petroleum industry to uphold safety standards in their operations. Mr Tampuli urged them to strictly adhere to the safety standards such as preventing oil spillage and leakages, adding that, “personnel at the forecourt should therefore insist that consumers adhere to safety guidelines at the forecourt such as observing no smoking signs, no use of mobile phones while refuelling at the filling station and turning off car engines.”
He further assured the NPA will continue to strictly enforce all safety standards, to ensure sanity in the petroleum industry. “We will increase inspections and monitoring of activities of licensed service providers. Petroleum Service Providers that fail to conform to safety standards will be sanctioned where applicable.” Mr. Tampuli and a team of directors of NPA also visited the Buipe and Bolgatanga depots of Bulk Oil Storage Transportation to assess the levels of safety standards of the depots. While in Tamale, Mr. Tampuli extended his visit to Paga on the Ghana-Burkina Faso border to interact with officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). Discussions there centred on smuggling of petroleum products along the Ghana-Burkina Faso and how GRA and NPA can collaborate to check smuggling.
The Chief Executive also stopped over in Bolgatanga and interacted with the Upper East Regional Commander of the GRA. Thereafter, the NPA entourage inspected the BOST booster station in Savelegu. The booster station helps to speed up delivery of petroleum products pumped via pipelines from Buipe to Bolgatanga. The station has not been active since September 2016 because no petroleum products have been through the pipes.