How To Avoid Gas Tanks Explosions, by SON DG

Frequent explosions of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage tanks and cylinders across the country are avoidable, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Director-General Mr. Osita Aboloma has said.

To avoid such incidents, Aboloma urged operators in the sector to subscribe to the SON certification of their vessels.He said 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, thereby putting the lives of Nigerians at risk of injury and or death.

He said necessary investigation was being carried out on the recent explosion in Owerri, Imo State with a view to nipping future occurrences in the bud.

Abaloma gave these safety tips while speaking to reporters in Abuja at the training of 30 SON engineers in the operations of three recently acquired mobile testing equipment for the inspection, testing and certification of LPG storage tanks, pressure vessels and pipelines.

He 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 SON’s policy to develop required human and material capacity to enable the organisation carry out its statutory mandate, which in this case, applies to the LPG sector.

He said the LPG storage vessels certification by authorised 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.

Aboloma said LPG vessels 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 issuing licences to LPG plant operators. He said brand new vessels are certified for five years after which revalidation is carried out every three years.

Aboloma said another set of 32 engineers were trained in Lagos to ensure that the mobile testing equipment in Lagos (for the Southwest Zone), Enugu (for the Southeast and Southsouth Zones) and Abuja for the Northern Zone can be put to effective use across the country.

The SON chief said a joint committee of stakeholders in the LPG sector was 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, import, sale and use of only duly certified LPG cylinders.

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