The Cylinder Recirculation Model should take off by the first quarter of 2019, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has said. Following the announcement of the model a year ago, the NPA has stayed somewhat silent over the time the policy will kick off especially when various inspection and monitoring exercises have been conducted. According to Director for Inspection and Monitoring, Esther Anku, steady progress has been made to ensure a smooth rollout of the policy.
“Once the first bottling plant then it means we are ready to roll out because the bottling plant must be available to receive empty cylinders and also refill them for recirculation. I could project the first quarter of next year (2019) for the onset of the policy. That could be earlier,” she revealed in an exclusive interview with JoyBusiness.
So far a Committee - National LPG Policy Implementation Committee has been established to ensure a smooth rollout of the process. The Committee developed a roadmap with four key objectives: regulatory framework, cylinder recall, training and capacity building and decommissioning of high risk refilling plants. However, decommissioning of high-risk refilling plants have not begun. It is unclear when the decommissioning will begin, Madam Anku said and added that decommissioning would begin “when the first bottling plant is up.”
Meanwhile, the NPA has consulted with petroleum service providers including bulk distribution companies, storage companies, oil marketing companies, tanker drivers and LPG refilling plant operators to ensure a smooth rollout of the process. “Whilst we are hopeful the full implementation of the measures will ensure safety, the NPA, in the interim, is collaborating with the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and other relevant stakeholder agencies, to enhance the capacity of persons involved in the handling of petroleum products, including tanker drivers and their mates,” the NPA has stated.
In order to ensure smooth implementation, LPG refilling plants would be classified into low risk and high risk based on their deficiency in meeting safety standards in a Risk Assessment of all plants by the NPA. The high-risk refilling station would be immediately converted into filled cylinder retail and distribution outlets whereas low-risk refilling stations would be dedicated to the supply of Autogas only, with improved safety standards.
The proposed new LPG distribution model will begin with the LPG Bulk Distribution Company (LBDC), whose responsibility will be to either import or buy the LPG from local refineries or/and gas processing plant, such as Tema Oil Refinery and Ghana National Gas Company, and store the LPG in their Bulk Storage facility. The LBDC will then sell the LPG in bulk to either the Bottling Plant for the sole purpose of filling the empty cylinders or to the LPG Marketing Companies (LMCs) for bulk sale to industrial end-users – factories, restaurant, and mini-power plants- and also to autogas users. The LPG Bottling Plant Company will be responsible for filling the empty cylinders for onward distribution to LMCs. The LMCs will be responsible for procuring, branding, and maintaining the cylinders. Specialized trucks will be used to transport the filled cylinders from the bottling plants to the retail stations or exchange points, where consumers will exchange their empty cylinders for filled ones.
A minimum of 4,000Mt capacity storage depot shall be used as the primary receiver of LPG either from imports or from domestic production, with gantry facilities for discharge into BRVs. This will be the preserve of an LBDC. The LPG bottling plant is expected to have a minimum storage capacity of 250Mt with an automated bottling plant and a filling capacity of 1,000 cylinders per hour. The country will be zoned for the siting of these bottling plants. However, the distribution of their filled cylinders will not be limited to any particular zone.