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EMERGENCY flaring at the Mossmorran gas plants following the lightning storm in midweek was raised at the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell.
A power dip during Tuesday’s severe storm caused a process upset at both Shell’s NGL site and ExxonMobil’s ethylene plant which led to elevated flaring, smoke and vibrations.
Under questions from Greens Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Mark Ruskell, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the weather event was “unprecedented” but refused to acknowledge this had caused the outage, despite the fact SEPA had already clarified this publicly
Commenting, Mark Ruskell said: “It’s incredible that the Environment Secretary doesn’t seem to know what caused this outage, even though the regulator and operator have been clear.
“It is ironic that this oil and gas plant that contributes so much to global warming can’t cope with extreme weather, but this is a serious immediate issue for those who live in its shadow”.
And he added: “Yet again the Scottish Government want to ‘wait and see’ rather than recognise the longer-term trend of pollution which surrounds this fossil fuel relic.
“The light, noise and vibrations suffered by local residents have been going on for years. These communities need safer, cleaner future with new jobs in alternative industries, not be endlessly strung along by those who want to maximise oil and gas extraction, whatever the cost.
“It’s critical that the HSE and SEPA now review in detail whether the plant is fit to deal with the impacts of climate change, and it’s time for an independent inquiry into Mossmorran’s future.”
Both Shell and ExxonMobil acknowledged the impact the long hours of electrical storms had on their operations and both organisations worked hard almost 24 hours to get production processes back to normal, which involved flaring for safety reasons. The option of ground flaring was limited during this period due to the torrential rain which lasted for many hours.