Flaring pledge as Mossmorran looks ahead to plant re-start

editorial image

Flaring will occur when Fife Ethylene Plant restarts later this year, Mossmorran Working group has been told.

At its meeting today, ExxonMobil, working alongside SEPA to manage the start-up process, confirmed planned flaring would be publicised in advance to residents.

And they pledged it would not be as severe as a previous incident in April.

Mossmorran has been deactivated since August after two of its three boilers broke down.

Bosses at the plant initially said it was would be closed for several weeks before deciding on a longer timescale to allow a significant “repair and replace” programme of work to take place.

The plant is expected to return to production towards the end of the year.

You may also be interested in:

Kirkcaldy’s BID company announces its closure

Police probe into Fife funeral director

Kirkcaldy man kicked ex partner in the ribs

The working group meeting was given an update when it met today.

It was told there were no injuries in the boiler malfunctions, which were caused by a critical build-up of pressure in the units.

Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, who chaired the meeting, said: “Because of the investigation our discussion was limited in scope but it was clear these were very serious incidents and lines of enquiry are complex, particularly in terms of the sequencing of events.

“ExxonMobil, which is also carrying out an additional in-house investigation, stressed the incidents were not ‘explosive’ in nature.

“We await HSE’s conclusions with interest.”

A key recommendation from the meeting was a root and branch review of the Mossmorran Safety Liaison Committee, after concerns were raised about its effectiveness in challenging practices at the site.

Fife Council is now charged with leading this task, and will be consulting with various community groups before reporting back in the New Year.

SEPA’s investigation into flaring at the plant in April is also expected to conclude in November.

Ms Laird added: “Generally speaking it has become apparent that closer scrutiny of operations at Mossmorran has resulted in maintenance schedules and routines being significantly invested in.

“A new maintenance contractor has been appointed and additional staff employed to provide the focus and energy these activities require.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath established Mossmorran Working Group, with co-chair Professor Wilson Sibbett from the University of St Andrews, after receiving a flood of complaints from constituents in 2017.

It comprises the broadest cross-section of representatives from the community, including Mossmorran Action Group, ExxonMobil, Shell, elected officials, Fife Council, SEPA and HSE.

Mossmorran Working Group is expected to meet again in the New Year.