Propane industry news roundup: November 2007

November 1, 2007 By    

BP to pay $373 million to settle violations

British Petroleum and several of its subsidiaries have agreed to pay $373 million in fines to settle multiple violations, including $303 million from charges that it attempted to manipulate U.S. propane prices in 2004, according to the United States Department of Justice.

The 20-count indictment returned Oct. 25 by a grand jury in Chicago also charges four former employees of a BP America Inc. subsidiary with conspiring to manipulate and corner the propane market in February 2004.

According to the indictment, the former employees bought large quantities of propane with the purpose of artificially increasing the price.

BP also agreed to plead guilty and pay fines in cases involving a fatal explosion at its Texas City Refinery and pipeline leaks in Alaska.

BP is the largest supplier of natural gas liquids in North America.

PERC seeks feedback on strategic plan

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is seeking feedback from the industry on its strategic plan for 2008-2012. The plan includes PERC’s roles and goals for the next five years as well as an updated mission statement.

The draft strategic plan can be found at All comments should be received by Nov. 19 for discussion at the December council meeting in Houston.

The council approved funding for the following grants:

  • $1,071,975 to CleanFuel USA to develop, validate, certify and commercialize a GM 6.0L propane engine for on-road vehicles.
  • $380,000 to Osborn and Barr Communications for agricultural research and technology demonstrations and validation plan.
  • $143,000 to California State University, Fresno, for the investigation of the effects of thermal pest control technology on common insect and fungal diseases and yield/quality parameters in California grapes, tomatoes and lettuce.
  • $134,265 to PERC for the cathodic protection program – video and manual.
  • $100,000 to PERC for the 2008 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue EXPO.
  • $100,000 to PERC for propane industry component/system testing program management.
  • $91,006 to the University of Tennessee for analysis of a propane-fueled mower.
  • $38,220 to the Railroad Commission of Texas/AFRED for reducing LPG fleet emissions, fuel waste and operating costs and enhancing employee health and safety through use of the Maximus Overfill and Detection Instrument.
  • $28,600 to The Nature Conservancy and Oregon State University for research and design of a propane machine for reducing the weed seedbank.
  • $17,200 to PERC for safety information for propane industry communication vehicles.

The staff also approved 37 rebates from 18 states totaling $1,393,707.

Updated LP Gas Code available from NFPA

The 2008 edition of the NFPA 58 LP Gas Code is available from the National Fire Protection Association. Visit or call 800-344-3555 (outside the U.S., 617-770-3000).

The new edition contains changes, several of which were proposed by the NPGA TS&S Committee. Changes to the text are indicated by a vertical line in the margin, and deleted text is indicated by a large dot in the margin.

ATRI revises truck-idling restrictions in 3 states

Truck idling regulations and enforcement are increasing nationwide, Mike Tunnell, director of environmental research for the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), told Transport Topics. Rhode Island, New Jersey and California have the newest restrictions for truck-idling limits. ATRI publishes a monthly report detailing changes in regulations; it can be found at the institute’s web site,

New regulations for motor carriers

New federal HAZMAT regulations for motor carriers took effect Oct. 1.

Hazardous materials shipping papers must include the number and type of packages being transported, in addition to listing the total quantity of hazardous materials. This also applies to shipping papers covering the transportation of hazardous materials in tank trucks, which must include the words “1 cargo tank” on the shipping paper (even if there are different materials being hauled in separate compartments).

Also effective Oct. 1 is the “OVERPACK” marking requirement, which must be used when specification packaging is required, unless the specification marking on the inside packages is visible.

Delay gives FMCSA time to mull HOS ruling

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has 90 days to consider its options after a federal appeals court agreed to delay the implementation of its driver hours-of-service ruling.

FMCSA and American Trucking Associations had sought a stay after a July ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The court had rejected FMCSA’s attempts to keep HOS rules for commercial truck drivers at 11 maximum daily hours behind the wheel and retain the 34-hour restart rule. Instead, the court ruled to change the daily maximum to 10 hours and eliminate the restart provision.

The delay will keep current HOS rules in place until FMCSA has a chance to prove that those regulations pose no safety threat.

EDPRO to add presence in U.S.

The EDPRO Group has established the framework to enter the propane distribution business in the United States. With its home office in Brentwood, Tenn., EDPRO Energy Group LLC will build a flagship distribution terminal in the Nashville area.

Grand Hall recalls some cylinder valves

Grand Hall, a propane cylinder valve manufacturer, is recalling some of its valves due to leakage concerns. Emerald Isle Distribution, the North American distributor for Grand Hall, is responsible for replacing the valves returned to Grand Hall. Contact Emerald Isle at 877-673-3278. For more details about model numbers and casting dates affected, visit

Liberty expands operations in SW

Liberty Propane has added 3,100 customers by acquiring Gasco Propane Sales & Service in Farmington, N.M. The acquisition is Liberty’s fifth this year and 23rd since its founding in 2003.

Roush taking orders for propane F-150

Orders are being taken for the Roush F-150 LPI truck, with initial sales being targeted at medium-and high-volume fleets, through select Ford dealers. Propane marketers who have fleet customers ready to purchase should contact Roush’s Tom Arnold at 313-806-4299 (cell), 734-779-7234 (office) or e-mail Also contact Brian Feehan of the Propane Education & Research Council at 202-452-8975 or

AmeriGas acquires two western retailers

AmeriGas has added 2,700 customers by acquiring All Seasons Propane Systems of Cascade, Idaho, and Basin Propane of Durango, Colo.

MPGA safety program educates farmers

The Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA) is sponsoring a program designed to promote safety in the agricultural community.

The Propane Safe Handling Program aims to educate farmers and other rural propane consumers on the proper usage of propane. Visit

Free employee guide available in New Mexico

Five copies of the Propane Gas Employee Guide will be provided to every propane marketer location in New Mexico. All purchase and distribution costs are paid through Propane Education & Research Council funds.

Produced by the Texas Propane Gas Association, the instructional manual will help employees respond to customer questions or complaints. Deadline for ordering is Nov. 15. For more information, call 866-881-6309.

Funds help low-income households in N.M.

HELP-New Mexico Inc. is providing supplemental benefits for eligible Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) participants in New Mexico.

HELP-New Mexico is under contract with the state to distribute an additional $6 million allocated by the New Mexico Legislature for bulk-fuel purchases. This will provide an additional $300 bulk-fuel-purchase benefit to 18,000 households. A majority of these funds will be paid directly to propane marketers. Those qualifying for LIHEAP should qualify for the funds through HELP-New Mexico.

UPS strengthens ‘green fleet’ with LPG vehicles

UPS Inc. is adding 306 alternative fuel vehicles to its “green fleet,” including 139 new propane delivery trucks throughout North America.

The new propane-powered vehicles were manufactured by Workhorse Custom Chassis and feature technology provided by Baytech Corp. The UPS propane vehicles will run on LPG provided at eight on-site fueling stations at UPS facilities in Canada.

Safety, health posters available from OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers free “official” posters to employers, including the new “Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law” poster. To receive the posters, visit the publications page at or call OSHA’s publications office at 202-693-1888.


AmeriGas’ volume for 2005 was 1,035 million retail gallons. The amount listed in a chart in the October issue of LP Gas magazine was incorrect.

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