Exxon apology as Mossmorran flaring belches black smoke across Fife

Bosses at Fife Ethylene Plant have apologised after unexpected flaring send black smoke high into the skies across Fife on Easter Sunday.

By Allan Crow
Sunday, 21st April 2019, 8:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2019, 8:44 pm
Flaring at Mossmorran (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Flaring at Mossmorran (Pic: Fife Free Press)

The flare at the giant petro-chemical plant at Mossmorran was so strong it could be seen for miles – it was clearly visible across the Forth.

It started around 1.00pm, and the site of thick black smoke hovering in the blue skies sparking an immediate reaction from communities nearest to the plant, and the flare may be visible for several days yet.

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The view from the gates of the plant (Pic: Fife Free Press)

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Exxon Mobil said it was due to “a process interruption” in the first of several updates issued on social media.

Emergency services were at the scene (Pic: Fife Free Press)

By mid-afternoon, a team of engineers had stabilised the flow of steam to the flare - removing the early dark smoke.

Work to identify the cause, however, is on-going, and flaring continues.

ExxonMobil stressed there was “no danger to the local communities” and added: “Flaring is necessary following an interruption in our steam generating boilers.

“The loss of steam resulted in the smoky flaring earlier this afternoon. Our team has resolved this and flaring is now clear.

“Additional members of our team are now on site and working hard to address the process disruption.”

SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, said it was aware of the unscheduled flaring.

It is one year since the plant was hit by an unscheduled flaring after a several incidents in 2017 and 2018 led to the plant owners receiving final warnings from the environmental agency.