Flames reaching as high as 60 feet from a Fife gas plant could been seen as far away as Edinburgh and the Pentland hills last night (Monday).
The excess flaring at ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) at Mossmorran near Cowdenbeath bathed the surrounding landscape in an amber glow attracting dozens of onlookers.
Heat from the high-reaching flame could be felt from as far away as the site perimeter, the result of what site operators ExxonMobil have called a “ process upset”.
The flare acts as a safety release valve for the site releasing excess gases and reducing pressure whenever a breakdown occurs.
A spokesman for the company said: “ExxonMobil Chemical Limited can confirm that there was a process upset at the Fife Ethylene Plant yesterday morning.
“The plant is in the process of returning to normal operations and it is anticipated that the flaring will continue over the next 24 hours, with the rate of flaring reducing over this period.
“An investigation is underway to identify the cause of the process upset that resulted in the off-specification product and the resultant flaring.”
Fire crews confirmed they received three emergency calls from the public relating to the flare, responding to two, both of which were false alarms with good intent.
ExxonMobil also confirmed they had informed Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) regarding the issue.
“We informed SEPA yesterday and the sites PPC inspector has visited the site. Once this investigation is completed it will be shared with SEPA,” a spokesman confirmed.
“We would like to apologise to the local communities for any inconvenience or concern we may have caused as a result of the flaring.”