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Business News of Sunday, 15 October 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Cylinder recirculation: 1 year not enough for safe roll out – COPEC

Questions about safety still remain ahead of the implementation of the Cylinder Re-circulation Model of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution, according to Duncan Amoah, the Executive Director of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC).

Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Amoah expressed some concern that the one-year deadline given for the full implementation of the new module, initially proposed by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), may not be enough, and will breed some compromise.

For him, questions about the transportation of the gas and the enforcement of safety regulations had not been adequately answered, although it’s early days yet.

The directive from the President for the implementation of the programme, was announced only on Thursday, October 12, after a Cabinet meeting in the wake of the Atomic Junction gas explosion.

The new policy means that, LPG Bottling Plants will be sited away from congested areas, to allow plants that will procure, brand, maintain and fill empty cylinders to be distributed to consumers through retail outlets.

Danger increasing?

But Mr. Amoah, in his comments on the matter said, “the question we [COPEC] are not exactly satisfied about with answers we have been provided so far, is how these plants or depots, the four of them going to be set across the country, will transport the LPG. Are we going to go by road… will the trucks still drive the LPG by road?”

He noted that, LPG tankers will now be going to plants to offload gas, opening up these plants to previous safety concerns.

“If those plants will operate according to world class standards with no gaps and lapses, as it pertains already with the existing outlets, then we are talking safety… Other than that, if what pertains in the Atomic case is allowed in any of the four, then we are graduating the danger from, let’s say, 7 deaths to about 7,000.”

Mr. Amoah said the one year period given for the implementation “is not the kind of time we have now to go and comprehensively develop something… I wonder and doubt if the one-year timeline given by Cabinet will be enough to address all the challenges surrounding the implementation of a programme that big.”

He also said he doubted if the plants would be developed in bushes, and that they would “still be closer to cities and developments.”