Probe into Mossmorran explosions

An investigation is underway after reports of two explosions at Mossmorran.

The incidents happened at Fife Ethylene Plant in August.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is currently probing the two separate incidents which happened in two different boilers.

They happened after pipes became over-pressurised and burst.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That has led to renewed criticism of the plant and its communications strategy by campaigners who run Mossmoran Action Group (MAG).

They said rumours of the incidents had been circulating for some time, and that the safety watchdog’s confirmation of a probe “makes a mockery of ExxonMobil’s communication strategy.”

The company said any comment while the investigation was on-going was “inappropriate.”

The plant at Mossmorran was de-activated on August 12 after two of its boilers failed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A planned shutdown of several weeks was extended significantly to allow a major “repair and replace” programme to take place, with the latest estimates of a return to operation around the end of November.

ExxonMobil has since announced a £140m investment to improve the plant’s reliability,

No public statement has been made with regard to any explosions.

You may also be interested in:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Stuart Neill, external affairs manager for ExxonMobil said: “We are concerned that comments have been made publicly on an ongoing regulatory investigation.

“It would be inappropriate for ExxonMobil to comment until the HSE’s investigation, and our own, have been completed.”

But campaigners have been vocal.

Councillor Linda Holt, who is part of MAG, communities had “lived in fear” of an incident for many years.

She said she was “shocked” to learn of the incidents at the recent meeting of the Mossmorran working group co-chairs by Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: ““I was shocked to learn that the two boiler breakdowns in August were both accompanied by explosions.

“David Green of HSE described the breakdowns as “catastrophic”, and they are currently the subject of a live investigation by HSE.

“We were also told that neither HSE nor Exxon have so far identified the cause.”

She added: “Rumours have been circulating locally that the boilers exploded, and HSE’s confirmation makes a mockery of ExxonMobil’s communication strategy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“For years local communities have lived with the fear of an accident at the plant,.

“Trying to hide explosions behind an announcement of £140m investment will only exacerbate local mistrust and fear.”

Ms Laird 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.”