Fury as Mossmorran chemical plant flares again

LOCALS have told how their homes “vibrated” after yet another period of unplanned flaring at the Mossmorran chemical facility.

Friday, 14th June 2019, 2:14 pm
Bosses at Mossmorran were previously served with a final warning after previously flaring incidents.

Residents in Cowdenbeath said their door frames “shook” on Friday morning as a bright orange flame filled the sky over Fife, with those in the Capital able to spot the flare from across the Forth.

It comes just weeks after the plant - which has been previously warned over flaring activity by industry regulators - sent a plume of black smoke billowing over parts of Fife for six days.

Exxon and Shell, who jointly operate the plant, blamed the incident on a “mechanical issue,” but local representatives have called on the company to do more to prevent further faults.

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A spokesperson for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) confirmed they were investigating the incident.

Councillor Darren Watt posted a message to the firm on social media, tweeting: “Once again, the surrounding communities are worried and anxious by what appears to be yet another unplanned flaring incident and once again, we have yet to hear anything from you!”

Exxon and Shell were served a final warning by the SEPA in June 2017 after it was ruled environmental licences were breached during a seven-day flare

A five-month investigation found maintenance failures led to elevated levels of unplanned flaring during the incident. On that occasion, the flaring was caused by the breakdown of a vital condensate pump.

Exxon said a cable that was responsible for the burning incident had been replaced and the affected boiler re-started.

Increased monitoring was put in place, however flaring incidents have since continued.

acob McAlister, plant manager at Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP), said: “As a result of a mechanical issue, we are operating our elevated flare at FEP.

"Our teams have quickly identified the cause and we are confident that we will return to normal operations later today.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this is causing and would like to assure everyone that there is no danger to our communities or staff on site.”