The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has cautioned fuel retail outlets and motorists against using ramps to aid the pumping of fuel into vehicles. It said tilting vehicles on ramps to fill them to the brim could damage fuel tanks and lead to explosion and destruction of vehicles and lives.
The Eastern Regional Manager, Mr. David Owusu-Kena, gave the caution at an NPA media engagement in Koforidua on Wednesday. The media engagement organized by the Communications Department was to highlight the Authority’s activities in the petroleum downstream industry and respond to industry-related questions from the media.
Mr. Owusu-Kena said fuel tanks were not supposed to be filled to capacity since fuel require space for expansion. He said fuel in fully filled tanks spilled over on the vehicle and on the forecourt of fuel stations, which could spark fire.
Besides, he said, the expanded fuel could damage the fuel gauge and leak through old tanks into the exhaust pipe, which could start fire and burn down the vehicle and cause injuries and loss of lives.
Touching on requirements for siting a filling station, Mr. Owusu-Kena said the prospective applicants needed permits from the Environmental Protection Agency (EP), the Ghana National Fire and Rescue Service (GNFRS) and the respective district assembly before the NPA grants permit for construction of a fuel station.
He said the Authority made sure that the applicant had secured all the necessary approvals from the EPA, the GNFRS and the assembly in order to ensure the safety of residents and protection of the environment.
Taking his turn, the Head of Planning of NPA, Mr. Dominic Aboagye, outlined measures the Authority had put in place to ensure uninterrupted fuel availability and supply in the country.
The interventions include management of storage depots, the laycan allocation programme and stock monitoring and reporting. Besides, he said, the Gold for Oil programme, the Bank of Ghana forex support to Bulk Oil Distribution Companies and the granting of Special International Oil Trading License were key to preventing any risk of fuel supply disruption.
Mr. Aboagye said local refining of crude oil by Akwaaba Oil Refinery and the Platon Gas Oil Refinery were supporting the sector. He said local fuel refinery would be ramped up with the expected start of operation by the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the completion of the Sentuo refinery.
Welcoming the media on behalf the NPA Chief Executive, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, the Corporate Affairs Director, Mrs. Maria Edith Oquaye, said last year’s media engagements across the country focused on pricing and quality of petroleum products, and indicated that this year’s sensitization would be on requirements for siting filling stations and security of supply of petroleum products.
For his part, a member of the Governing Board of the NPA and Chairman of the Consumer Services sub-committee, Mr. Kwami Sefa Kayi, lauded the NPA for the sensitization drive and urged the media to be more proactive by asking the NPA industry-related questions for clarifications.