What Is the Main Cause of Explosions at Gas Filling Stations?
In ninety percent of explosions at liquefied natural gas filling stations drivers are guilty since there is improper operation of gas cylinders installed in cars or cylinders are not timely taken to examination.

The Media Center held a panel discussion on the security standards at gas filling stations and current problems. The speakers included: Artsrun Najaryan, Head of the Department of Documentation and Legal Coordination of National Market Surveillance at the Ministry of Economy; Ruben Badeyan, Director of the National Center of Technical Security at the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations; and Siranuysh Zakaryan, PR Coordinator at Informed and Protected Customer NGO.

“In general, the improper operation of cylinders causes explosions. Oftentimes drivers do not know that cylinders have to be regularly taken to examination, or they point out financial problems saying that during the test the cylinder might turn out to be of poor quality and explode and, they would remain without a cylinder. So, people avoid spending money but they are ready to put their health and life at risk,” said Ruben Badeyan.

Gas station workers have to share the guilt because they must demand the documents for cylinder and only then fill the cylinder.

To ensure safety at gas filling stations since 2011 the Economy Ministry has installed gas distribution towers in 303 liquefied natural gas filling stations to check the temperature and pressure of the gas provided to the customer.

“Our department constantly inspects business entities and, when a violation is observed, their operation is either suspended or banned. In 2011-13 180 out of 303 gas stations were found not to have installed distribution towers. Some were closed down, with 146 entities being fined with an overall penalty of 11 million 800 thousand drams,” Artsrun Najaryan said.

Siranuysh Zakaryan said the recent studies have revealed cylinders are defective, obsolete, or untested.

“There is no one to control and force drivers to test cylinders. Drivers are often surprised that the cylinder must be taken to examination, as they show a check and say that someone – for just 5000-6000 drams – installed the cylinder in his garage and gave them the document stating that the cylinder is tested, but in fact no examination has ever been conducted” Zakaryan said.

The speaker added on the other hand gas station workers - without checking the maximum cylinder pressure - fill in the cylinder.

Badeyan clarifies that disproportionate gas filling happens because of a pointless competition between gas stations, and their quest for more profit. A governmental commission he believes will solve the problem. Every day the commission members may randomly check gas stations and cars there, record the vehicle manometer and the whole process.

The Government is developing a bill to force all entities to keep up with the rules and regulations, Najaryan said.

“For example, if a gas station worker does not check the documents for the cylinder, the entity will be fined. That will keep them more alert because the entities will be held responsible and it will cost a pretty penny. Now the bill is discussed and will soon be adopted,” Najaryan said.

Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator

Please contact the author at lilitarakelyan@pjc.am.

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