- Lagos Gas Explosions raise Safety Concerns
Following the gas explosions in Lagos this week, the issue of safety in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas subsector is taking centre stage, with industry stakeholders expressing concerns over the existing safety gaps as the drive to boost cooking gas consumption gains momentum.
On Monday, two people died after a gas leakage triggered an explosion in a cooking gas plant owned by Second Coming Limited on CMD Road, Ikosi-Isheri. It was reported that while officials of the Lagos State Fire Service were assisting to fix the gas leakage in the plant, the exhaust pipe of a speeding vehicle triggered an explosion.
Also on that day, five residents were killed after an oxygen gas transload went awry in a retail shop in Agara, Badagry.
In August last year, four persons were killed and many injured at Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State following a cooking gas explosion at Trinity Gas Limited station.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, Mr. Bassey Essien, stressed the need for safety consciousness in the LPG sector.
“We have to be safety conscious and put all the safety parameters in place, and especially with the nature of the product, we need to be very safety conscious and create the awareness among the customers. We cannot play down on safety,” he said.
“There are a lot of gaps in the LPG sector and most of the gaps exist because of the low level of Nigeria’s socioeconomic development,” the National Chairman, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers Branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Mr. Michael Umudu, said.
According to him, there is a large number of substandard and imported second-hand equipment and accessories in the system.
He said, “Most, if not all, LPG materials and equipment are sourced outside the country and owing to the depreciating value of naira, many importers prefer countries that compromise universally acceptable standards. Most of the LPG plant storage facilities are brought into the country after they have been used in Europe, North America and other parts of the world.”
Umudu said the leadership of their branch union had often raised the alarm that special attention should be given to accessories, equipment and materials used for the LPG because of the volatile nature of the product.
He said the proliferation of cooking gas retail outlets in the country had made it difficult for effective supervision and enforcement.
“It also leads to the involvement of people who are not qualified to do the business. This is the greatest challenge facing our branch union in the recent times. People who know little to nothing about the LPG retailing business are daily flocking into the business. It leads to the proliferation of substandard and fake products,” he added.
According to Umudu, the LPGAR’s key programme this year is to fight this menace because they dent the association’s image and endanger the lives of customers and neighbours.
He said, “We are already having meetings with the relevant agencies in order to sanitise the system. We are determined to ensure that henceforth anybody entering into the business meets the DPR requirements. We have also mandated those who have been in the retail business but don’t meet the requirement that they should upgrade or face severe sanctions.”
Meanwhile, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, during an inspection of the Second Coming gas plant in Lagos on Wednesday, said the DPR had commenced an inquest into the Monday fire incident.
Describing the incident as “very devastating,” he said, “The inquest will determine the cause of the incident and what next to do.”
He added, “There was no structure here when the plant was given licence for operation in 1996. We are saying this to let the people know that the facility had been located here before the residents started building their houses. The whole place was bushy when they started operation; it wasn’t like this before.”
He said most times, gas plant fire incidents were as a result of poor management attitude or lack of corrective measures.
Ladan said, “The department always holds a quarterly interactive forum with the association of cooking gas plants’ owners to warn them of fire incident especially during harmattan period.”
At the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the DPR’s Lagos zonal office in November, the Controller, Lagos Zonal Operations, Mr. Wole Akinyosoye, highlighted the growth in the downstream gas market, with more gas plants, gas skids and gas retail outlets.
He said the depot LPG storage capacity in Lagos increased from 6,000 metric tonnes in 2014 to 30,000MT in 2017, with more capacity expansion underway.
He, however, noted that the exponential activities in the LPG market had come with growing challenges, especially on safety.
Akinyosoye said, “Illegal gas plants and skids are mushrooming and more people are rushing into the gas business without taking time to familiarise themselves with the modus operandi on skills and statutory requirements for entry and operations. This has led to increasing fire incidents and near-misses in recent times.”
Citing a recent explosion (early last year) in a gas skid in Ogun State that led to the loss of six lives, he said subsequent inquest by the DPR revealed that it was an avoidable accident.
Akinyosoye said, “We also found out that the lives could have been saved had the minimum safety procedures been followed and the DPR involved in the events leading to the operations in the facility, as prescribed by law. Recently, another gas explosion had occurred somewhere in sub-urban Lagos, where three people were wounded and one very critically.”
He said the DPR had been shutting illegal gas facilities with the support of the security agencies, especially the National Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“Illegal operators should prepare for more shutdown and stricter measures in the coming year, as only the DPR-licensed operators would be allowed in the oil and gas sector to engender safe operations,” he added.
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Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption
The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.
The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.
This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.
Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.
The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.
Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.
Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.
Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.
During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.
He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.
Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.
The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.
Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.
The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.
The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.
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