LPG cylinders safe, trade department assures

Fuel:Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders circulating in the market are safe as they are tested at every refilling operation, according to the trade department.

“They are very safe, and no untoward incident has ever occurred in Bhutan due to expiry issues,” an LPG advisory from the department states. “It does not mean that the expired cylinders are not serviceable but certain tests are required to re-qualify before refilling.”

According to the advisory, the abbreviations A, B, C and D on the cylinders denote quarters of the year and the inscriptions labeled A and D are not shelf life of the product but testing dates for the cylinder. For example, code A09 on the cylinder means it is due for testing in the first quarter of 2009 and not the expiry date of the cylinder shelf life, it added.

The cylinders have to be tested after 10 years from the date of manufacture and every five years thereafter. However, while the first testing date is inscribed on each cylinder, the subsequent dates are not inscribed.

The advisory states that the first testing is to be done in 10 years after the date of manufacture and every five years thereafter. After testing, the cylinders will be put into circulation, but those failing the test will be rejected.

The department has already taken action and regional offices will ensure that circulation of such expired cylinders have been stopped from July 1.

The Department has requested all LGP consumers to surrender expired LPG cylinders to the respective petroleum and lubricants (POL) dealers so that testing can be done within the stipulated time.

The advisory also says the public not to hoard their LPG cylinders as the cylinders need to be tested and prequalified from time to time. “At the same time the department also assures that there will be no disruption of filled LPG cylinders.”

In a finding conducted by the royal audit authority’s special report on import and distribution of LPG and kerosene, it was revealed that Bhutan has 74,460 expired cylinders circulated in the market, posing threat to lives and properties.

On physical verification of LPG cylinders, the audit found expired cylinders in stock.

As of November 30, 2014, there were 203,364 cylinders in circulation, 181,435 cylinders issued to public and 21,929 cylinders with distributors. There had been an increase in import of LPG from 2008 to 2012 and decrease in 2013.

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