BY Pamodi Waravita
Following the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) stating that the latest stock of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imported by Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. does not meet the standard requirement for the odourant level of ethyl mercaptan, Litro Gas Lanka officials claimed yesterday (15) that the tests had been carried on the vapour instead of the liquid form of LPG.
“In the liquid form, the odourant level meets the required standards,” Litro Gas Lanka officials told The Morning yesterday.
However, it is not clear at the moment what steps, if any, Litro would take regarding this issue in terms of challenging the SLSI tests or accepting them.
Although The Morning’s attempts to contact the SLSI proved futile yesterday, the SLSI has reportedly told the media that regardless of the way the tests are carried out, if the smell is not properly present within the gas, then it cannot give permission to release the stocks.
The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has declined permission to Litro Gas Lanka to unload its new stock of approximately 3,600 metric tonnes (MT) of LPG as they do not meet the standard requirement for the said odourant level, which is a safety measure that indicates possible gas leaks to consumers.
Industry insiders have warned that an LPG shortage could arise in the country if the latest stock is rejected for entry and distribution by the authorities. Co-operative Services, Marketing Development, and Consumer Protection State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna was due to meet with the relevant parties on 14 December to discuss possible measures that could be taken. However, The Morning’s attempts to contact Alagiyawanna and CAA Chairman Maj. Gen. (Retd.) D.M.S. Dissanayaka regarding the matter yesterday proved futile.
Meanwhile, media reports show that the CAA has stated that the gas composition of butane and propane of the new stock is within the correct standards.
Alagiyawanna said last week that lab tests conducted by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on 12 samples of LPG obtained over the last month show a propane composition of 47% and said that he personally believes that this change in composition led to the LPG cylinder-related incidents over the course of last month. Allegations claim that Litro Gas Lanka had changed the gas composition from the usual 70:30 butane:propane ratio to a dangerous 50:50 ratio, without informing the consumers. However, Litro Gas Lanka has stated that they reject testing done by the CPC laboratories.