Locals who live near the Mossmorran gas plant in Fife have been told production will soon restart after an upgrade saw a new noise-reducing flare tip installed.
ExxonMobil, which operates the Fife Ethylene Plant, said a planned £140m upgrade was close to completion.
Key machinery will be restarted as the plant is brought back online, with locals warned this could mean the flare is used at the Mossmorran plant.
The company said it hoped to keep the use of flares to a minimum and, where possible, use ground flares.
In an update to locals, Martin Burrell, Mossmorran’s plant manager, said: “We are pleased to advise that we are close to completing our £140m plant upgrade and are making preparations to safely restart production.
“We currently estimate that this will take place through next week, although this may be subject to change for operational reasons.”
Mr Burrell added: “We will need to undertake limited elevated flaring during the last stage of the process, but there may be some intermittent use.
“We anticipate the flare will be small, and our new noise and vibration reducing flare tip will be operational.”
The £140m investment by ExxonMobil saw around 1,000 workers involved, with a noise and vibration-reducing tip installed on the elevated flare.
It’s hoped the change will benefit the local community after years of complaints about the impact the plant has locally.
ExxonMobil hopes it will “significantly improve” the reliability of its Fife Ethylene Plant, reducing the need for the flare to be used to burn off excess product.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said the investment marked a “major milestone” which would result in less flaring and less impact on nearby communities.
SEPA has stepped up monitoring and enforcement at the site after a series of complaints about the frequency of flaring at the plant.
Local Cowdenbeath Councillor, Darren Watt, said he would reserve judgement until after the upgrades were completed.
“After years of disruption and misery caused by plant failures and flaring, such significant investment will largely be welcomed by local communities.
‘Misery and disruption’
“I will however reserve judgement until sometime after upgrades and improvements have been completed.
“The flaring itself is only one area of concern for many residents, the fact ExxonMobil needed to flare outwith scheduled maintenance is another.
“We need assurances the plant is indeed safe and fit for purpose, and only time well tell,” he said.