Cylinder recirculation policy will boost LPG export
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Hassan Tampuli, has said the country has a potential of exporting its filled LPG cylinders to neighbouring countries through the implementation of the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM).
He said although the country was already exporting raw LPG to other countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso, the new model, when implemented, would present a new layer to drive the export of LPG.
Speaking at a media education series on the new policy in Accra, Mr Hassan Tampuli explained that, in the sub– region, apart from some states in Nigeria and Ghana, no other country was implementing the CRM, and hence rolling out would put the country in a competitive advantage.
“We also have the additional advantage because we export LPG to various countries, and to export to them filled cylinders instead of just exporting the raw LPG to them. That is another layer that has not been considered in the mix,” he said.
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Mr Tampuli said the NPA, together with its stakeholders, had gained some new perspectives from its working visits to countries such as Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast, India, Peru and Columbia that would be fed into the implementation of the CRM in Ghana.
“In the course of our working visit, we have picked up very good practices, we have picked up not too good practices, so in the course of our implementation, we are able to avoid some of these bad examples we have seen in other jurisdictions,” he said.
He also explained that the broader objective of the CRM was to deepen the penetration of LPG usage in the country to an appreciable 50 per cent.
He reiterated that while focusing on increasing access, the safety associated with its usage must not be compromised and the NPA would ensure that it was achieved to the letter.
He bemoaned some negligent attitudes that could result in the compromise of the safety of users even if the companies had the best installations.
“The best installation can even be torched by some negligent attitudes. We do not want to leave the safety and security of individuals to the goodness of somebody who can decide to either be negligent or good,” he said.
Mr Tampuli also explained that the policy was not static and as and when there was the need for changes, it would be done to be able to help design a model that responds to the specific needs of the people and also able to stand the test of time to deal with any challenges.
“What we are doing is not cast in concrete. The document that was circulated at the early stages is not the same as we see it today. This is because, we have gotten perspectives from our stakeholders who have made some interventions,” he said.
The new policy
The National LPG Promotion Policy was approved by Cabinet in October last year and was earmarked to start this year. The policy is to gradually phase out the current LPG marketing model, where consumers have to refill their gas cylinders at the several gas stations dotted around the country.
Rather, there would be designated points were consumers could go and exchange their empty cylinders for filled ones from the LPG distribution companies through the recirculation model and the refilling would be restricted to only a few distribution companies.
Aside abolishing the current marketing model, it also seeks to consolidate activities in the LPG value chain with the view to reducing health, safety, security and environmental risks exposure.
The implementation of the cylinder recirculation model will begin with the construction and operation of the LPG Bottling Plants and other infrastructure required for the roll out of the new model. This includes the setting up of cylinder distribution centres and cylinder exchange vendor points.
Existing LPG stations will be classified into low and high risks based on their deficiency in meeting required safety standards and those found to be high risk would be converted into filled cylinder retail and distribution outlets while those classified as low risk would be used for the supply of auto gas only with improved safety standard.
Decommissioned stations would be compensated after an assessment had been thoroughly carried out by a qualified asset valuation expert.
The Head of Inspection at the NPA, Mrs Esther Anku, reiterated the need for consumers to be educated on safety measures while using LPG.