…By Larry John for TDPel Media.
Mrs. Zainab Olalekan found it amusing when she was asked if she knew her gas cylinder had an expiry date.
She couldn’t comprehend how the steel gas cylinder she inherited from her mother could have an expiration date.
This sentiment was shared by other gas cylinder users our correspondent spoke to at a gas retail shop in the Okota area of Lagos State.
Increasing Acceptance and Consumption of Cooking Gas
Over the past decade, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, has gained widespread acceptance among Nigerians.
This has led to a significant growth in the domestic gas market and an increase in the consumption rate of cooking gas in the country.
Ownership of Gas Cylinders
As a result of the surge in demand for cooking gas, households across Nigeria have acquired numerous gas cylinders. However, many users are unaware that these cylinders have expiration dates.
Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) Guidelines
The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) has provided guidelines on the expiration of gas cylinders in line with Nigeria Industrial Standard NIS 69:2013.
According to SON, gas steel cylinders manufactured or imported in Nigeria have a specified lifespan of 15 years.
The organization also requires specific markings on cylinders, such as the manufacturer’s brand name, country of origin, test pressure, tare weight, SON product registration number with prefix FA, and year of manufacture.
Determining Cylinder Expiry Date
To determine the expiration date of a gas cylinder, one needs to add 15 years to the manufacturing date.
The marking information indicating the manufacturing date can usually be found on the shroud (handle) or foot ring (stand/base) of the cylinder.
Awareness and Ignorance among Users
During interactions with gas cylinder users at a retail shop in Okota, it was discovered that while a few individuals were aware of cylinder expiration dates, they did not take them seriously.
The majority of users were completely unaware of the expiration dates.
Withdrawal of Expired Cylinders
The SON emphasizes that all expired cylinders must be removed from circulation to ensure safety.
Challenges with Enforcement and Ownership System
According to Bassey Essien, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Association of LPG Marketers (NALPGAM), people are becoming aware of cylinder expiration dates but choose to ignore them.
He highlights that Nigeria operates on a cylinder ownership system, making it challenging to regulate such issues.
Essien notes that some individuals continue to use gas cylinders that are 40 to 50 years old without understanding the potential risks.
Enforcement and Safety Implications
While the SON periodically raids retail shops to confiscate rusty and expired cylinders for destruction, gas plant owners do not have the legal authority to seize someone’s cylinder.
Instead, they educate users about the obvious safety implications, such as the risk of explosions.
Despite increased awareness about gas cylinder expiration dates, many users still lack knowledge or choose to disregard this important safety aspect.
The ownership system and challenges with enforcement further complicate the regulation of gas cylinder expiry dates.
It is crucial for individuals to recognize that gas cylinders, like any other items, have expiration dates, and adhering to these dates is essential for safety.