Mossmorran re-launch faces another delay

Plans to re-start the giant ethylene plant at Mossmorran have been shelved until the start of 2020.

ExxonMobil Chemical confirmed today the main phase of bringing the plant back into commission won’t happen this year.

It was de-commissioned on August 12, initially for a few weeks after two of its three boilers failed.

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In October, it emerged there had been two explosions in the boilers after pipes became over-pressurised and burst.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is currently probing the two separate incidents.

That original timetable was also scrapped as the owners announced a significant “repair and replace” project which it said would lead to more reliability in the plant’s performance.

It was scheduled to come back into operation late November, but now that has bene put off until January.

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A statement from Jacob McAlister, plant manager, revealed the new schedule.

He said: “We are currently revising our initial commissioning work and re-start schedule but can confirm the main phase will now begin some time in January.

“This will mean that there will be no elevated flaring from FEP in the coming weeks, merely the small amount of vapour that has been running through the flare since we shut down our operations.”

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He added: “I believe, based on recent discussions with local representatives, that clarity about the status of the works for the remainder of this year, will be welcomed.  

“We will share details of our revised timetable as soon as it becomes available.”

The prolonged closure had, in ExxonMobil’s own words, “a significant commercial and operational impact” on the company.

The company has come under intense pressure from locals communities and politicians concerned over flaring.

Last week it was the subject of an election hustings featuring a number of candidates standing in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath ward.