Smuggling: SON to minimize economic sabotage in oil, gas

Mallam Farouk Salim, Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, is considering new modalities that will influence implementation of its set standards especially in mid and downstream sectors of the economy.

The Agency said that the establishment of the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency will aid its intervention in the areas of monitoring local fabrication and importation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, cylinders most of which are smuggled into Nigeria, contrary to the requirements set by the agency.

Director-General, of SON, Mr Farouk Salim, said at a media workshop in Lagos, that efforts are being made to also ensure that imported white products, which include petrol, diesel, kerosene meet minimum standard set for the industry.

The workshop has the theme, “Securing Nigeria Through Standardisation.”

Salim, said strong partnership and collaboration among government agencies and stakeholders will help boost capacity of indigenous manufacturers of cylinders and generate more jobs for Nigerians.

He said local industries are collapsing due to import of substandard LPG cylinders and accessories as well as damages caused by marketing of substandard lubricants and faking of motor oils using base oils.

The DG, said the agency would continue to work with the regulators in the oil and gas industry to address the challenges in the LPG subsector.

“When standards are compromised blatantly, it destroys our ability to have functioning industries in the country,” he said.

The Head of LPG, SON, Mr Williams Okpeh, in his paper said used cylinders should not be imported into the country.

Okpeh, who was represented by a principal standards engineer, Mr Ayiti Akinwale, said, “LPG cylinders must be identified with manufacturer’s or importer’s name/logo. Imported LPG cylinders must have SON registration number for traceability. Locally produced LPG cylinders must have MANCAP number for traceability.

“All LPG cylinders must be re-qualified every five years. Expiry dates of cylinders shall be engraved or embossed on all cylinders (15 years’ life span).”

According to him, all cylinders must have a statement of requalification on them.

He said, “Most cylinders in circulation are either old (expired) or substandard. LPG cylinders in circulation are not re-qualified. LPG cylinders in circulation are not refurbished. Most LPG storage tanks installed are not certified.

“Most storage tanks imported into the country are old. Used LPG cylinders are smuggled into the country. Some LPG cylinders in circulation were fabricated locally without requisite quality control checks.”

Okpeh also highlighted the lack of adherence to safety procedures in terms of distribution, storage and use, as well as the unavailability of cylinder test stations in the country.

He said, “LPG will continue to play an increasingly important role in the future with rising income as well as growing awareness about the convenience and health benefits for as long as crude exploration continues.

“It is important that we take advantage of the economic and market potential of the LPG reserve and reposition the country to reap the enormous benefits associated with it.”

According to him, compliance to standards and specifications is key in ensuring global relevance and sustainability.