Mossmorran to get £140m upgrade to help reduce flaring

Flaring has been a huge source of concern.
Flaring has been a huge source of concern.

ExxonMobil said today it plans to launch a £140 million additional investment program over the next two years at the Mossmorran plant to upgrade key infrastructure and introduce new technologies that will significantly improve operational reliability and performance.

A portion of the £140 million investment will go toward technologies that reduce the impact of flaring, including a state-of-the-art flare tip, which will reduce noise and vibration.

The project will support approximately 850 local construction jobs and benefit 40 local suppliers.

Jacob McAlister, plant manager, said: “These planned investments demonstrate our commitment to long-term reliable operations at the site.”

“While already one of the most modern plants of its kind in Europe, we are always looking for ways to improve reliability and efficiency through continued maintenance and investment in new technologies.

“Fife has a long-term future as a competitive asset, contributing to both the local and national economies.”

“We are committed to the highest operational and regulatory standards.

“This investment further contributes to the local economy and across Scotland through job creation and procurement contracts.”

This is the latest investment by ExxonMobil companies in the UK.

The Fife ethylene plant began operations in 1985 and has a production capacity of over 800,000 tonnes of ethylene a year. Over the last 30 years, it has been a major employer in the area, currently employing over 270 employees and core contractors, with more than 60 percent living within 10 miles of the plant.

The move was welcomed by Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird.

She said: “This major investment justifies the concerns communities have expressed for years about Mossmorran and its operations.

“Residents were patronised for the most part, and those who dared raised concerns publicly were derided for scaremongering.

“It is only through the concerted pressure of the Mossmorran Working Group that SEPA, HSE and the companies have finally all had to face up to the reality that communities had reached their absolute limit, and that they would have to act as the plant was clearly not fit for purpose.

“More detailed responses are now required from all of these organisations as to how, under the watchful eye of SEPA and HSE, Fife Ethylene Plant was allowed to deteriorate to this extent.”

Fife Tory councillor Linda Holt, a board member of Mossmorran Action Group, said that ExxonMobil is “dazzling people with numbers”.

“The fact is they have not been running their plant reliably, flaring has been unacceptable in duration and intensity, two major components failing have caused an extended shut down, SEPA rejected their initial BAT proposals and now HSE has issued an action notice about the explosion risk from fuel buildups.

“The company has ducked and dived when it comes to being transparent and accountable with its neighbouring communities and elected representatives.

“I very much doubt Exxon is spending a penny more than it is being forced to, and this would not be happening without sustained pressure from communities, politicians and regulators.”

Get in touch and tell us your story

Email: ffpnews@fifetoday.co.uk

Twitter: @FFP

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FifeFreePress