, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 5 – The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) has raised alarm over the escalating cases of illegal trade in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The Institute’s Chairman Polycarp Igathe says 70 percent of the LPG business is illegal, pointing out that PIEA members will not take any responsibility for the integrity of most cylinders in the Kenyan market.
Igathe cautions Kenyans to buy LPG from service stations warning that the content stocked in majority of supermarkets and estate outlets have not been filled or supplied by brand owners.
“In fact, Nairobi County has over 70 illegal retailers and over 10 illegal and unlicensed LPG storage and cylinder filling facilities and what these statistical scenario means is that 7 out of 10 LPG cylinders in the market are supplied by illegal re-fillers.”
“If you have to buy your LPG requirement from supermarkets or any other distributer, please ask them to show you an authorisation from the company that owns the brand that you are buying, get a receipt when you are buying your gas,” he cautioned.
He says petrol stations continue to be attacked by thugs to steal cylinders as LPG accidents in homes continue to rise.
He also said that the standardization of gas cylinder valves where one can re-fill their cylinders from any company without having to undergo extra costs of buying a new valve has now encouraged widespread illegal filling and now wants to go back to the specific valve for each company.
“if our enforcement agencies are incapable of enforcing the law please allow us to go back to the specific valve, so as we can be held accountable for any damage that our cylinders causes in the market,” he said.
They now want the government to remove taxes on LPG cylinders and the product for them to be more affordable.
He accused the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of being reluctant to stem the vice which is threatening to spiral into a crisis.
PIEA is also alarmed by the delay in rehabilitating and installation of fire fighting equipment at the Kipevu Oil Jetty which is the primary entry point for petroleum products into Kenya and Eastern Africa region.
“Our primary jetty predisposes the country to supply shocks in case of a major interference at the jetty especially bearing in mind the reality that Kenya is always five days away from a stock out,” he stated.
In 2013, consumption of petroleum products stood at 4,639 million tonnes with monthly industry demand estimated at 275,000 tonnes for local requirement and 80, 000 for export.