Atomic Explosion: A year on – NPA confident of safety measures

Seven people lost their lives in the gas explosion at Atomic junction last year

Today, Sunday, 7 October 2018 is exactly a year ago that the country witnessed a gas explosion at the Atomic Junction in the Greater Accra Region, which killed seven people and injured several others.

The explosion, which began from a gas station, extended to a fuel station and caused a huge fireball in the sky.

The government, as part of measures to forestall any such incident, called for the implementation of the National LPG Policy on 12th October 2017 through the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) of LPG distribution.

In a statement to mark one year of the explosion, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) said aside from the CRM, it has also strengthened its capacity to intensify its monitoring and inspection mechanisms, to ensure safety standards at the various stations are rigorously enforced.

“This will help curb or reduce any unforeseen petroleum product-related accidents. Meanwhile, risk assessment of all LPG refilling plants in all the 10 regions has been carried out. The findings will be part of the general implementation of the policy,” the statement added.

MANSCO ATOMIC GAS EXPLOSION, ONE YEAR ON.

A year ago on October 7, 2017, we experienced a gas (LPG) explosion at Mansco Refilling Plant at Atomic Junction, Accra.

Following the incident, Cabinet directed a number of actions among which is the implementation of the National LPG Policy on 12th October 2017 through the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) of LPG distribution. The Ministry of Energy subsequently directed the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to constitute an implementation committee to plan and execute the policy.

The policy objective is to ensure at least 50% of Ghanaians have access to safe and environmentally friendly LPG for domestic, commercial and industrial use by 2030.

In order to achieve the 2030 target, the NPA was empowered to oversee the implementation of the following plans:

1. Development of a market-driven structure that ensures safety and increased access to LPG.

2. Enhance the capacity of existing regulatory institutions in order to meet the regulatory requirements of the new market structure.

3. Ensure the existence of robust and standard Health, Safety and Environmental practices in the production, marketing and consumption of LPG.

4. Ensure the sustainability of supply under the new market structure.

5. Ensure local content and participation in the LPG sub-sector in compliance with the Downstream Local Content Policy.

The CRM policy is aimed at addressing concerns about Public Safety, Product Quality, Accessibility, Availability and Affordability.

The constituted National LPG Policy Implementation Committee including none LPG service providers adopted a roadmap to assist in the implementation process.

· Regulatory Framework

· Cylinder Recall

· Decommissioning of high-risk refilling plants

· Training and capacity building.

Petroleum Service Providers involved in the consultation process include Bulk Distribution Companies, Storage Companies, Oil/LPG Marketing Companies, Tanker drivers, and LPG refilling plant operators. The rest are as follows:

1. Members of the council of state

2. Members of the National House of Chiefs

3. Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy

4. Regional houses of chiefs

5. Municipal and District Assembly officials

6. Organized Labour

7. Women groups

8. Market women

9. Traditional Caterers

10. The general public.

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 also strengthened its capacity to intensify its monitoring and inspection mechanisms, to ensure safety standards at the various stations are rigorously enforced.

This will help curb or reduce any unforeseen petroleum products related accidents. Meanwhile, Risk Assessment of all LPG refilling plants in all the 10 regions has been carried out. The findings will be part of the general implementation of the policy.

The NPA is reminded of its utmost obligation to help educate the general public on the safe use of LPG to forestall any accident, and we are committed to that.

We, therefore, take this opportunity to once again extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in that unfortunate incident. Same also goes to the injured and those who lost valuable properties.

Once again, we want to remind the general public that safety is a shared responsibility. We, therefore, count on the co-operation of all, to ensure standards at the various petroleum product stations are not compromised.

Corporate Affairs Division.

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