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Fire disasters: How to identify expired LPG steel cylinders – Expert, SON


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FOLLOWING public concerns on cases of domestic gas explosions and the expiry date of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders, Oil and Gas Expert Olisaemeka Onubogu, on Saturday, advised the public to discard their LPG containers after 15 years of use.

He told The ICIR during an exclusive interview held in Abuja that LPG would normally expire after 15 years.

He said users of cooking gas could easily recognise the expiry date of the LPG steel containers by checking the handle or base of the cylinders.

Onubogu, who is the managing director of Instagas Nigeria Limited, explained that having an understanding of a cylinder’s expiry date could prevent unwanted fire incidents.

He said though the life span of the LPG steel cylinders differed in countries, Nigeria’s was 15 years, and some cylinders had  the expiry date inscriptions on their handles while others had it on the foot rings.

“The key thing people should know is that cylinders expire after 15 years from the production date. That figure was determined by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON). So, it expires 15 years after it is produced,” Onubogu said.

According to him, once the steel cylinders were expired, they would begin to expand due to the gas pressure.

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Findings by The ICIR revealed the expert’s assertion aligns with SON’s recommendation. Based on the nationally acceptable guideline, steel LPG cylinders expire in 15 years.

However, Onubogu further advised the public to always check for the ‘test date.’ This date, he said, was that which LPG steel cylinder was manufactured and certified safe for use.

“We use that (test date) to determine the date it was manufactured. Another date is stamped on it only if the cylinder was recertified.”

He emphasised that some LPG containers might have the inscription – T.Date or T.D.

And in some cases, the ‘T,’ which means ‘Test,’ might be fully written as ‘Test Date,’ he said.

However, the date, he noted, was mostly written as month/year, which was the standard for every cylinder.

Beyond the inscription of the expiry date, he recalled how SON had instructed all importers or manufacturers to mark their cylinders with expiry dates such that members of the public could easily identify them without the difficulty of calculating their life spans.

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“To determine the expiration date of your LPG Cylinder, the simple formula below will guide you: The expiration date of LPG cylinder = Year of manufacture + Life span of LPG Cylinder,” SON stated in a document issued by its management.

“Life span of LPG cylinder in Nigeria is 15 years. If the year of manufacture embossed on the cylinder is 2006, the expiration date of the LPG Cylinder will therefore be – 2006 + 15 = 2021.”

It directed that expired LPG cylinders be withdrawn from circulation for recycling.

The country has witnessed a couple of domestic fire incidents arising from either leaked or expired LPG. These are different from the popular LPG tanker explosions. The unfortunate incident has claimed both lives and properties

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is responsible for regulating the sector. It issues licenses to gas plants operators and offers guidelines with international safety standards.

Since reported cases of LPG-related fire outbreaks, the DPR has commenced sanctioning erring operators. On 6 July, the DPR sealed 13 gas plants in Lagos for illegal operation. On 8 July, the DPR also sealed eight gas plants in Akwa Ibom.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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