The Energy Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has officially confirmed that the gas filling station in Embakasi, Nairobi, where an explosion occurred on Thursday night, was operating without proper authorization.
EPRA disclosed that it had consistently turned down requests for construction permits for a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling plant in the Mradi area of Embakasi, Nairobi County.
The refusals were grounded in various factors, including the densely populated nature of the surrounding area.
In an official statement released on Friday, EPRA revealed that it had received applications on three separate occasions: 19th March 2023, 20th June 2023, and 31st July 2023.
However, all these applications were rejected as they failed to meet the stipulated criteria for establishing an LPG storage and filling plant in that particular locality.
The primary reason for the rejections was the inability of the proposed designs to adhere to the safety distances outlined in the Kenyan Standard.
EPRA emphasized that the applicant was specifically asked to submit a Qualitative Risk Assessment (QRA), clearly outlining the potential radiation blast profiles in the event of an explosion. This request was particularly crucial due to the high population density in the vicinity of the proposed site.
Regrettably, the applicant failed to furnish the requested QRA, resulting in the repeated rejection of the applications.
“As the regulator, we have devised short and medium-term measures to ensure the safety of all LPG plants in the country. This includes conducting comprehensive technical audits of all licensed LPG plants, aiming to ascertain a high safety integrity status concerning Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE),” stated the official release.
EPRA further underscored that administrative actions are routinely taken to revoke operating licenses for all plants falling below the required high safety integrity status. This regulatory intervention aims to guarantee the safety of LPG plants across the country.
The tragic incident at the unauthorized gas filling station has already claimed three lives, with nearly 300 individuals reported to have sustained injuries in the explosion.