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The operator of the ethylene plant at Mossmorran in Fife has confirmed work on a £140 million investment to reduce flaring at the site has been delayed due to the pandemic.
Exxonmobil announced the work last year, after coming under increased pressure to address the issue.
In a statement to Kingdom FM, the company said: “We remain committed to the delivery of the £140m additional investment programme, which we announced last year.
“However, as a direct result of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the resourcing and delivery of materials and equipment, as well as the movement of personnel, have been significantly impacted. This means that this programme of work must now extend into 2021.
“While it is disappointing that we cannot complete the programme over the original planned schedule, our priority is the health and safety of all involved and that the recent challenging times have significantly impacted schedules for many projects all over the world. We will work towards completing this programme as soon as it is practical to do so.
“Our plant continues to operate safely and to the highest regulatory standards, and existing annual maintenance activities will continue to maintain those safe operations during this timeframe.”
Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “The delay to the works at Mossmorran is obviously disappointing news for the community.
“Unfortunately, like most businesses, Exxonmobil is feeling the impact of the pandemic.
“With that said, there is also some better news coming out of Mossmorran, with a significant reduction in flaring following the restart of operations earlier this year.
“I thank Exxonmobil for keeping the community updated on the measures that are being taken to improve operations at Mossmorran and as the local MP I will continue to closely monitor progress.
“Ultimately, we all want a well-functioning plant that is safe, with limited flaring, and that will maintain jobs that are vital for the local economy.”