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The Mossmorran plants in Fife, co-owned by ExxonMobil and Shell, is Scotland’s third largest polluter.
But fears have been raised there is no full blueprint to clean up the site.
In October, ExxonMobil signed an expression of interest with those behind Scotland’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) project for St Peter’s Port.
Despite missing out on UK Government funding, the Acorn CCS project is vital to Scotland’s legal pledge to cut carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 and become net zero by 2045 – with the Scottish Government bringing forward no ‘plan b’ if the project does not get off the ground.
The Mossmorran sites are responsible for nearly 10% of large industrial site emissions in Scotland and are difficult to decarbonise.
The two Mossmorran plants directly employ approximately 250 workers, and periodically many more through short-term maintenance contracts.
Now, the Scottish Greens have called for a full joined-up plan to decarbonise Mossmorran, including potentially shifting to a cleaner hydrogen fuel and connecting to the site to the Acorn project.
Fife MSP and Greens environment spokesperson, Mark Ruskell, told The Herald that the Scottish Government should focus on “looking at some of the more obvious cuts in emissions that we can make”, including Mossmorran, as a matter of urgency.
Mr Ruskell has pointed to “transforming some of the industrial processes” at Mossmorran and “moving over to hydrogen”.
He added: “There’s also some obvious work that needs to be accelerated now.
“Mossmorran is a good example of that, where you’ve got a huge emitting plant. There hasn’t been a plan for how you transition that particular site and decarbonise it well (and) preserving jobs as well.”
Mr Ruskell said the Scottish Government should focus on how to “push a bit harder” and “a bit faster” to ramp up action.
The Scottish Greens have previously been scepical about the use of CCS, pointing to the technology not yet being used at the scale required and mostly used by the oil and gas industry to carry on producing fossil fuels.
The technology prevents carbon from being released into the atmosphere and instead, it is trapped deep in the seabed.
Mr Ruskell acknowledged the “uncertainties” around CCS, but praised the Acorn plans to “take emissions from the hardest to abate sectors” including “potentially” the petrochemicals sector at Mossmorran.
He added: “It will provide a solution for those sectors in the short to medium term.”
Under the Acorn plans, the CCS project will help to decarbonise the North Sea oil and gas sector, while targeted action will help us the technology at petrochemicals plants in Grangemouth and potentially Mossmorran.
The Scottish Government’s newly-published energy strategy states there is “significant potential for carbon intensive industrial clusters” such as Mossmorran, to “unlock deeper decarbonisation across Scotland”.
An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “ExxonMobil seeks to be a leader in society’s drive for a lower-carbon future.
“We are committed to meeting demand for energy and providing the products society needs, while reducing emissions and managing the risks of climate change.
“It is widely acknowledged that carbon capture and storage (CCS), which was first deployed in the 1970s, will be an essential technology to help meet this dual challenge.
“At Mossmorran, we are actively working with The Scottish Cluster to explore potential solutions that could help lower future emissions from our Fife Ethylene Plant.”