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New technology planned for Mossmorran could contain “at least 98%” of flaring by 2022, it’s been claimed.
An enclosed ground flare (EGF) is expected to be operational at the Fife chemical plant in less than two years after Oklahoma headquartered Zeeco Inc was awarded the contract to design and build the structure.
Zeeco said the enclosed flare would operate “completely smokelessly”.
It comes after the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) ordered Mossmorran operators to invest in infrastructure to tackle the “unacceptable impacts of flaring”.
It is hoped the new ground flare and an additional £140 million investment in the site near Cowdenbeath by ExxonMobil will minimise the impact on nearby communities, who for years have complained of disturbance in the form of light, noise and vibration during plant shutdowns when excess gas has been burned off.
Martin Burrell, plant manager for ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) at Mossmorran, said: “While we never want to flare, on those occasions when we need to, it will always be safe.
“Having the best available technology ensures we minimise any potential disturbance to our host communities. It is estimated that at least 98% of any required flaring will be safely contained in the new EGF.”
Campaigners have said the investment in the plant is overdue.
The latest significant bout of flaring at the site in October resulted in more than 700 complaints to Sepa.
Sepa previously referred ExxonMobil to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, who are considering if flaring at the plant over Easter 2019 merits prosecution.
Managing Director of Zeeco Europe Ltd Nigel Palfreeman said the EGF was at the forefront of the latest advancements in flaring technology.
“Its design differs greatly from the existing elevated and ground flares at Mossmorran in that the flame itself is enclosed and will not be visible,” he said.
“Based on our current estimate, we expect delivery of the unit to FEP in 2022.”
Founded in 1979, Zeeco is a worldwide company which designs and manufactures advanced combustion technology.