By Adewale Sanyaolu
Stakeholders in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) value chain popularly called cooking gas have called for the stiff regulation of industrial gas (acetylene) sector in order to prevent the continuous loss of lives and properties.
Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that the regulation of Industrial gas (acetylene) rests on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON), an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Investment as such was outside the purview of the Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) which is only mandated by law to regulate activities involving LPG, Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG).
The stakeholders under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers Association ( NALPGAM) and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers(LPGAR) branch of NUPENG said the unregulated activities of those engaged in the sale, use and distribution of oxygen gas pose a major threat to the socio-economic wellbeing of Nigerians.
They urged the entity responsible for the regulation of industrial gas to take a cue from DPR which regularly organizes sensitization workshops for those the LPG value chain, especially as it relates to the safe handing, use, sale and distribution of LPG.
They spoke against the backdrop of the five gas explosions which rocked Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, killing people and destroying several properties worth millions of Naira within one week.
Executive Secretary of NALPGAM, Mr. Bassey Essien, and the Chairman of LPGAR, Mr. Chika Umudu, said preliminary investigations revealed that the explosions were as a result of industrial gas and not LPG as erroneously published by some media houses.
Given an analyses of the five incidents which occurred at separate locations in Abeokuta, Essien said the Conference Hotel and CCECC Construction Company were as a result of welding activities/ construction activities while that of OOPL Marquee, Oke Egunya and Mercy Road was as a result of gas being refilled into Air conditioners and freezers.
‘‘You can see that none of those explosions was traced to LPG as they have nothing to do with cooking gas.
According to the duo of Bassey and Umundu, industrial gases are not sold in cooking gas or skid plants where consumers refill their cylinders or bottle same.
The LPGAR Lagos Chairman explained that his association was not responsible for sale and distribution of industrial gas, adding that in 2020 LPGAR ordered its members who are also selling industrial gas to desist from using the same shop or location for both LPG and industrial gas.
‘‘In fact, the union ordered them not to site the location of industrial gas outlets anywhere close to 500 meters from where LPG is stored or sold,’’
NALPGAM said it was doing a lot of awareness campaigns on the safe use of cooking gas, handling of cooking gas accessories, know how to handle the gas cylinder, turning on the gas cylinder when about to be used, or after usage, appropriate storage places, how to detect expired cylinders, hoses and replacement of regulators as well as emergency response measures in the event of gas leakages particular at homes.
‘‘All these are to guide and give users the confidence to use cooking gas rather than seeing it as evil. The news headlines do not help as well as it does not serve anyone any good. If a report of an explosion must be made, l think it should also be indicated in the headline the gas involved to avoid misleading readers as to concluding that it’s cooking gas without taking time to read through the body of the story.’’