Frequent explosions of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage tanks and cylinders across the country are avoidable occurrences, according to the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Aboloma.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja at the training of 30 Standards Organisation of Nigeria Engineers in the operations of three (3) recently acquired mobile testing equipment for the inspection, testing and certification of LPG storage tanks, pressure vessels and pipelines, Mr. Aboloma urged operators in the LPG sector to voluntarily subscribe to the SON certification of their vessels in the overall interest of the Nation’s economy and the safety of its people.
Mr. Aboloma stated that due certification of LPG storage vessels, proper maintenance and handling of cylinders, safe and ethical practices are necessary steps to avoid explosions and gas accidents.
According to him, the agency will invoke the provisions of the SON Act No. 14 of 2015 on any operator found to have circumvented the mandatory requirement of certifying its LPG storage vessels thus putting the lives of Nigerians at risk of injury and or death.
He stated that necessary investigation was being carried out on the recent explosion in Owerri, Imo State with a view to nipping future occurrences in the bud.
Mr. Aboloma challenged the SON officials to ensure that only certified LPG vessels and storage tanks are in operation across the country within the shortest possible time.
The Engineers were trained on the theory and practical of operating the mobile testing equipment to enable them acquire skills, necessary to effectively use them across the country.
This according to the DG was in line with the policy of SON to develop required human and material capacity to enable the organization carry out its statutory mandate which in this case, applies to the LPG sector.
According to him, the certification of LPG storage vessels by authorized and competent bodies is an international practice and a mandatory requirement to assure the integrity, effectiveness and suitability of the vessels to store liquefied petroleum gas without failure.
Mr. Aboloma disclosed that LPG vessels in Nigeria are certified to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code, Division 1, Section VIII: 2015 by SON.
The certification, he stated is one of the requirements of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for the issuance of operating license to LPG Plant Operators. Brand new vessels are certified for 5years after which revalidation is carried out every 3years, he said.
The SON DG stated further that another set of 32 Engineers were trained in Lagos to ensure that the strategically located mobile testing equipment in Lagos (for the South West Zone), Enugu (for the South East and South South Zones) and Abuja for the Northern Zone can be put to effective use across the country.
Mr. Aboloma disclosed that a joint committee of stakeholders in the LPG Sector was recently inaugurated by SON to among others, work out modalities for a scheme to re-qualify LPG cylinders.
The scheme according the SON Chief Executive will involve the withdrawal of substandard cylinders from circulation and ensure the production, importation, sale and use of only duly certified LPG cylinders in Nigeria.