EPRA Explains Why It Rejected Licence for Embakasi Gas Plant


The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has denied granting a licence to the gas filling plant at the centre of the explosion incident at the Mradi area in Embakasi on Thursday night. 

In a statement, EPRA explained that it rejected three applications for construction permits as the owners did not meet the criteria for managing a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant. 

According to EPRA, the proposal was rejected due to its proximity to residential areas, which violated its regulations.

“Applications for construction permits for a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling plant at the site were received by EPRA on March 19, 2023, June 20, 2023, and July 31, 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. 

Embakasi residents watch the aftermath of the gas explosion on February 2, 2024 (left) and the explosion caused by a gas tank (right).

Photo

Brian Murimi

“The main reason for the rejection was the failure of the designs to meet the safety distances stipulated in the Kenya Standard.”

Further, the Authority requested the owners to submit a Qualitative Risk Assessment, outlining the radiation blast profiles if an explosion occurs. 

The blast profiles are simulated using computer software and indicate the effect of a typical blast in terms of heat radiation and tremor/vibration and are useful in reviewing the safety of the surrounding areas.

EPRA explained that the LPG plant did not adhere to the guidelines as it never provided the requested QRA. 

While detailing the necessary actions, EPRA pointed out that it had formulated short and medium-term measures to ensure the safety of all LPG plants in the country. 

“This is through actions such as undertaking detailed technical audits of all licensed LPG plants in the country to ensure high safety integrity status in terms of Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE).”

EPRA highlighted that administration actions are always taken to ensure operating licences for all plants rated below the high safety integrity status are revoked. 

“In addition, surveillance and enforcement actions are taken including demolishing illegal plants operating across the country and curbing malpractice in the sector.”

The explosion in Embakasi has gained nationwide attention after the incident claimed three lives and 270 casualties. Following the incident, the public questioned why the gas filling plant was operational despite being close to residential areas. 

A photo collage of the explosion at Mradi area in Embakasi on February 1, 2024.

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