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‘Good progress’ made as work to reduce flaring at Mossmorran continues after power cut

Elevated flaring has now stopped at the plant.
Elevated flaring has now stopped at the plant.

Mossmorran operators say they are working hard to stop flaring at the site after a second night of disruption caused by severe weather.

Progress has been made to reduce the size of the flare from the elevated stack at the Cowdenbeath plant, and normal operations are expected to resume soon.

A power cut during Tuesday’s severe storm caused a process upset at both Shell’s NGL site and ExxonMobil’s ethylene plant and nearby residents woke to elevated flaring, smoke and vibrations.

Environment watchdog Sepa, which deployed officers to monitor the impact, said flooding due to hours of torrential rain meant the use of ground flares was limited and the elevated stack had to be used.

The organisation said it was in conversation with both companies regarding the restoration of normal operations and continued to monitor noise and air quality.

“We understand that the flaring was a result of disruption to power for both operators due to extreme weather conditions,” said a spokesperson.

“Use of the ground flares to minimise elevated flaring was limited due to flooding on the site.

“We are continuing to speak directly with both companies regarding the restoration of normal operations.

“As always we have been in contact with our partners in Fife Council and NHS Fife and this will continue until normal operations are resumed.”

Fife Ethylene Plant manager Jacob McAlister said good progress was being made but warned the size of the flare could fluctuate during Thursday.

“Our team has taken a number of actions to significantly reduce the size of the flare, and we continue to look for ways to further optimise,” he said,

“As we move through these final stages, you may see some fluctuations in flare size but, as always, we will work hard to keep this to a minimum.

“As you will appreciate, we are putting safety first, but we are committed to completing the required steps as quickly as possible.

“We thank communities for their continued patience and apologise for any disruption.”

A Shell spokesman said it was also continuing with measures to minimise flaring and would issue a further update on Thursday afternoon.

 

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