EPRA reveals that it declined to give the gas company in Embakasi an operating license due to its proximity to the residential areas.
The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling station at the centre of the explosion in the Mradi district of Embakasi on Thursday night, February 1, was found to be functioning illegally by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).
EPRA threw the company under the bus in a comprehensive statement, claiming that it did not meet the requirements to be granted an operating licence.
According to its standards, EPRA refused to grant the company an operating license due to its close proximity to residential areas.
“Applications for construction permits for a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling plant at the site were received by EPRA on 19th March 2023, 20th June 2023, and 31 July 2023. All applications were rejected as they did not meet the set criteria for an LPG storage and filling plant in that area,” the statement read in part.
“The main reason for the rejection was the failure of the designs to meet the safety distances stipulated in the Kenya Standard.”
According to EPRA, they directed the company to o submit a Qualitative Risk Assessment, outlining the radiation blast profiles if an explosion occurs.
However, the company did not comply but instead went on to set up the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling plant.
“The applicant never provided the requested QRA resulting in the rejection of the applications. Email correspondences providing reasons for the rejection were sent to the applicant,” EPRA noted.
“As the regulator, we have formulated short and medium-term measures to ensure the safety of all LPG plants in the country is guaranteed. This is through actions such as undertaking detailed technical audits of all licensed LPG plants in the country with the objective of ensuring high safety integrity status in terms of Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE).”
EPRA thus threatened to take administrative action against the company for operating without the requisite approval.
This is after a gas explosion left three people dead and over 220 with serious injuries.
According to government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura, the fire was caused when a lorry of an unknown registration number that was being loaded with gas exploded.
“Consequently, the inferno further damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including many small and medium-sized businesses. Sadly, residential houses in the neighbourhood also caught fire, with a good number of residents still inside as it was late at night,” Mwaura stated.