Pakistan’s Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has lifted a ban on compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling of public service vehicles (PSVs) after safety issues were resolved in negotiations between government regulators, transporters and the All Pakistan Compressed Natural gas Vehicle Association (APCNGVA). The ban was imposed after a spate of accidents that exposed a high number of illegal CNG conversions.
OGRA has issued a directive and Approved Drawings for the fitting of CNG cylinders inside PSVs based on APCNGVA’s recommendations. The directive requires that:
- For HIACE/VAN (4 wheeler with seating capacity for 15 to 18): “Maximum two Vehicle CNG Cylinders of approved brand having standard of NZS 5454:1989 shall be installed in Agree – the vehicle. Total capacity of the cylinders shall not exceed 140 WLC.
- For pickups: “Vehicle CNG cylinders of approved brand having standard of NZS 5454:1989 shall be installed longitudinally beneath the seat, behind the driving cabin properly shielded from all sides so that there shall be no contact of the passengers”.
OGRA has also specified the mounting of cylinders: “Both the cylinders and its piping along with fitting and accessories shall be vented to atmosphere in such a way that all piping connections are exterior to the vehicle compartment.” This, together with a ‘gas seal bag’ over the cylinder neck and piping is designed to prevent accidental leakage of gas into the passenger compartment. Piping will pass beneath the vehicle floor.
Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Managing Director APCNGVA, says his Association has been lobbying for increased safety measures over the past three years and has been in consultations with all Government authorities for Issuance of Final SOPs and directives from OGRA which comply with all international safety rules (NFPA 52 : 2010) as well as CNG Safety Rules of Pakistan 1992. Their aim is to bring the plethora of regulations issued by various departments (Hydro Carbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP), Explosive Department, Secretary Transports of all 4 provinces, Traffic police, Motorway & highway police, Motor Vehicle Examiners etc.) into a coordinated whole, which may then be easily executed by all relevant departments. The outcome will be significantly easier monitoring for compliance.
APCNGA set up 105 certified workshops for Cylinders and Kits safety checking and certification in January 2012 to make CNG vehicle more safe and to avoid the incidents, and is planning for a further 100 workshops around the country. APCNGA will play its role to maintain standard of work, data entry of these vehicles and providing them tamper proof stickers using a barcode facility.