DOE raids LPG-to-butane canister refilling plant, uncovers P4M equipment, items ready for sale

By Rosalie O. Abatayo |February 12,2019 - 06:27 AM

The sale of LPG-filled butane canisters is prohibited under Presidential Decree 1865. /CDN File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Operatives from the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) and the Department of Energy in Central Visayas (DOE-7) seized P4 million worth of equipment and butane canisters refilled with liquified petroleum gas (LPG) in a raid in an illegal refilling plant in Sitio Mananga 1, Barangay Tabunok in Talisay City on February 11.

Lawyer Russ Mark Gamallo, legal officer of  DOE-7, said the refilling plant was purportedly owned by a former police officer.

Among the items seized during the operation were  2,397 empty canisters, 3,558  LPG-filled canisters, 229 cylinders of 50-kilogram liquified petroleum gas (LPG), three refilling machines and three air compressors.

Four vehicles, including a land cruiser, which were believed to have been used in transporting the illegal products, were also seized.

Gamallo said the owner of the illegal refilling plant will face criminal charges in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1865, which prohibits the sale, distribution and transport of adulterated petroleum products.

Gamallo explained that butane canisters are not suited to contain LPG since its material is not designed to sustain the pressure exerted by the petroleum product.

The canisters are supposed to contain pure butane fuel. However, LPG is composed of 40 percent butane and 60 percent propane.

Butane-filled canisters are popular products in the Philippines as fuel for portable stoves. But it also gave rise to the practice of refilling empty butane canisters with LPG, which are sold at P15 to P30 per canister, or just a fraction of the cost of a brand new  butane-filled canister.

As many consumers began using portable stoves not just for outdoor activities but also for daily home use, the sale of LPG-filled butane canisters has also become  rampant, particularly in low-income households in Metro Cebu./elb


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