Mossmorran a COMAH & Buncefield site

The Mossmorran facilities is the collective name given to the Fife NGL plant operated by Shell and the Fife Ethylene Plant operated by ExxonMobil.



Businesses that handle dangerous substances fall within the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015. The aim of the regulations is to try to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and limit the impact to people and the environment when a major accident occurs. Both the Fife NGL and Fife Ethylene Plant are designated Top-Tier COMAH sites


Buncefield site?

On the 11th December 2005 an oil storage facility (Buncefield) located in Hertfordshire suffer a major catastrophe after a series of explosions. The explosion measured 2.4 on the Richter scale with the air and vapour cloud that formed causing an explosion equivalent to 30 tonnes of TNT. Fife NGL is designated a Buncefield type site due to the similarity of the plant.

Mossmorran Plant which incorporates the Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) and the Fife NGL Plant (Shell)

Mossmorran returns to production after six-month shutdown

Fife Ethylene Plant operated by ExxonMobil

Fife NGL operated by Shell

Fife Council and ExxonMobil approved Pond Dipping workshops at a Top Tier COMAH site for primary school children.

Parents haven't been fully informed of the risks, and HSE have been critical of the risk assesments conducted by Fife Council and ExxonMobil - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-50000353

Fife Ethylene Plant - Elevated flare stack.


Fife NGL Plant - Elevated flare stack.


Fife NGL Plant - ground flare modules

Learn About


The Mossmorran facilities is the collective name given to the Fife NGL plant operated by Shell and the Fife Ethylene Plant operated by ExxonMobil. The plants process natural gas liquids, with Fife NGL providing feed for fractionation by Fife Ethylene plant. The plant is part of the North Sea Brent oil and gas field system.
Gas is separated from oil on the offshore platforms with the gas then pumped ashore to a terminal at St Fergus which is operated by Shell. At the St Fergus Gas Plant, methane is extracted from the rest of the gas product with the remaining NGL piped 139 miles away to the Mossmorran facilities. The Braefoot Bay terminal also supplies product to the Mossmorran complex.
At the Fife NGL fractionation plant, natural gas fluid is separated by distillation (in fractionation columns) into ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), butane (C4H10) and pentane (C5H12). The ethane is then piped to an adjacent ethene cracker plant operated by ExxonMobil for further processing and cracking.
The propane and butane is chilled, liquefied and stored on site within double integrity tanks, the gasoline is also stored on site within floating roof tanks. These liquids are then transported via pipeline to the marine terminal at Braefoot Bay on the Firth of Forth for loading onto ships for export. Mossmorran also has an adjacent road tanker terminal for road transportation of propane and butane.

Mossmorran Pollutants

A list of the pollutants emitted by Fife NGL (Shell) and the Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil). Data includes quantities (as provided to SEPA), and the potential hazards & health impacts


Fife Ethylene (ExxonMobil) - Air Pollutants emitted per tonne in 2015


Fife NGL (Shell) - Air Pollutants emitted per tonne in 2015


Fife Ethylene (ExxonMobil) - Air Pollutants emitted per tonne in 2016


Fife NGL (Shell) - Air Pollutants emitted per tonne in 2016


Fife Ethylene (ExxonMobil) - Air Pollutants emitted per tonne in 2017


Fife NGL (Shell) - Air Pollutants emitted per tonne in 2017

Who is Responsible

There is a multi-agency involvement with the site, and responsibilities on the local authority, Scottish Government and UK Government

Shell UK Fife NGL and ExxonMobil Chemical Limited FEP at Mossmorran are regulated under the PPC. Licences, known as permits, set conditions that must be met to prevent or reduce any impact on the environment. For FNGL and FEP at Mossmorran the PPC Permits include specific conditions on flaring including a requirement to provide an incident report for any significant unplanned flaring.

SEPA are under the jurisdiction of the Holyrood Government

As part of the original planning conditions it was a requirement that both companies set up a liaison committee. Whilst the secretary of state agreed with this suggestion, he concluded that the setting up of such committees should rest with the local authorities not the developers.

The Mossmorran & Braefoot Bay Community and Safety Committee ("the Committee") is meant to provide a forum to enable local communites to:

be aware of developments likely to take place at Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay;

be briefed on environmental impacts and safety issues associated with the existing plant and terminal, as well as any developments affecting them,

and allow the views of local communities on these issues to be properly addressed.

You can learn more on our Community Representation page.

Group is the responsibility of Fife Council

The Shell UK and Exxon Mobil Chemical Limited Sites at Mossmorran fall under the COMAH Regulations which are jointly regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and SEPA as the Competent Authority. Qualifying sites are divided into Lower Tier and Top Tier sites based on quantities of dangerous substances held on the site.

The Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay sites are classed as Upper Tier sites due to the quantities of highly flammable substances present. As such they must submit a Safety Report every five years which demonstrates the implementation of safety management systems to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences to people and the environment.

HSE are under the jurisdiction of the Westminster Government

The Mossmorran & Braefoot Bay Independent Air Quality Monitoring Review Group (the Review Group) was formed to provide advice and recommendations to Fife Council regarding the monitoring of emissions resulting from the operations at the Mossmorran plants and the Braefoot Bay terminal facilities (operated by Shell UK Limited and ExxonMobil Chemical Limited).

The Review Group consists of an Independent Chair and representatives from Fife Council, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM). Representatives of ExxonMobil and Shell attend the Review Group meetings by invitation. The Review Group liaises with local communities, local Community Councils and representatives of the local health service.

Group is the responsibility of Fife Council

Are you Represented?

Who represents your interests at the Mossmorran & Braefoot Bay Community and Safety Committee? Who takes gifts from ExxonMobil?

Have you been impacted by Mossmorran?

Submit a report to our Social Impact Map

Have you suffered from the operations at Mossmorran? Has your health been affected? Do you know of any Environmental or Social impacts from Mossmorran? Submit a report to our social impact map. All responses are in confidence and not shared with any 3rd parties. Data is anonymised before being added to the map.

Resident-led action group seeking redress from the long-term social, health and environmental impacts from the Mossmorran facilities in Central Fife operated by ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) and Shell (Fife NGL).


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