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A Lochgelly resident has branded ExxonMobil “liars” after the company said it had received no formal requests for compensation.
Earlier this week, the petrochemical giant told The Courier: “We have not received any formal requests for monetary compensation from members of the public.”
Joe Purves, who lives in Lochgelly and is a member of Mossmorran Action Group, made a request for compensation in 2017.
It followed unplanned flaring from Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) between June 12 and June 17 that year.
In August last year, ExxonMobil wrote to Mr Purves to say: “Further to our discussions at the meeting on June 8, you asked me to write formally to you regarding your request for compensation in 2017 for the ‘loss of amenity’ from flaring onsite during the period June 12 to June 17.
“We have investigated the points you raised in your letter with our risk management department, who advise that there is no basis for compensation.
“I should like to assure you that we work to minimise flaring, and whenever flaring is necessary, we try to ensure any disturbance to the community is kept to a minimum.”
When pressed on the matter on Thursday, ExxonMobil reiterated its stance. A spokesman for the company said the claims made by Mr Purves had been fully investigated at the time and no basis for financial compensation had been found.
Mr Purves, 69, said he was “angered and puzzled” by the company’s statement over compensation claims.
“But nothing surprises me because they’re blatant liars,” he said.
Last year, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) described the flaring in June 2017 as “preventable and unacceptable”.
And in August this year, Sepa served permit variations on both ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd and Shell UK requiring them deal with unacceptable impacts of flaring as soon as possible.
It followed another bout of high volume flaring, this time caused by the failure of boilers at the chemical plant.
Last month, ExxonMobil announced it would be investing £140 million in upgrading FEP, with the bulk of the money being spent on measures to prevent flaring episodes. Work will also be carried out on the elevated flare stack to reduce noise and vibration when flaring is necessary.
The plant was completely shut down on August 12 as a result of the boiler failures, and is likely to remain out of operation until at least November.