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FLARING is to go ahead at the Mossmorran Fife Ethylene Plant this week as an important maintenance project takes place.
Plant manager, Jacob McAlister, reported on Sunday that staff will be working around the clock to get the work completed as soon as possible. This follows a short period of flaring on Saturday morning.
Mr McAlister said: “To allow us to safely conduct work to replace a section of pipe at the Fife Ethylene Plant, our elevated flare will be in operation from Monday for a period anticipated to be no more than five days.
“To actively minimise amenity impact, we have taken the significant step of reducing gas input to the plant to ensure the flare is operating with a reduced volume. We will also work round-the-clock to complete this essential work as safely and quickly as possible”.
He added: “While absolutely understanding that flaring can cause community concern, I believe we share the same commitment to continued safe operations and that this should always be the over-riding priority.
“I can reassure you that flaring is a safe and permitted part of the plant’s safety and operating systems, and allows us to maintain steady operations during the work. SEPA, HSE and other regulatory and stakeholder partners have been advised”.
The plant boss concluded: “As we have always indicated, we strive to avoid the use of flaring but there is a need to do so on this occasion. We apologise to anyone concerned by the flaring, and thank our local communities for their patience and understanding.
“We will keep the public fully updated on progress with this essential work.”
Mossmorran Action Group chair, James Glen, is concerned that this flaring is coming so soon after the intense period that occurred at Easter.
He said: “We’re grateful ExxonMobil has notified us about five days of flaring from Monday, but their statement raises more questions than it answers.
“What exactly is the maintenance issue? Is it related to the ethane leak, the flaring on Saturday or is it another emergency?
“If it is a genuinely planned shutdown, why didn’t ExxonMobil inform the politicians and community reps on Friday when they attended the latest meeting of Lesley Laird’s Mossmorran working group?
“As flaring is becoming ever more frequent, people are left wondering whether the plant is now too old and rickety to run safely.”