Probe after Fife flare is seen from Edinburgh
Oil and gas giant ExxonMobil Chemical issued an updated apology late yesterday to local communities near the Cowdenbeath ethylene complex.
Prolonged flaring from the facility’s main stack has been visible from as far away as Edinburgh since Monday last week.
The company said in a statement issued last night: “The flaring, which occurred yesterday and today, was the result of a plant upset on one of our compressors, which has now been resolved. We have therefore restarted the plant and it is operating normally.”
The plant’s scheduled start-up after recent maintenance works had to be postponed last month after a leak was found in the part of the facility that contains its heat exchangers.
A spokesman for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, which is carrying out the probe, confirmed all flaring had stopped at the Mossmorran plant at 1:45pm yesterday.
He said: “We will be carrying out further investigations into the causes of all recent unplanned flaring at the site, with both ExxonMobil and joint operator Shell UK Ltd, with a view to identifying measures to prevent any recurrence.”
Community group Loch of Shining Waters has started its own independent survey to gauge the extent of health concerns for nearby residents.
Group spokesman and Lochgelly resident James Glen lives about 1.8 miles from the facility. He said the noise from the plant in recent days had been extreme.
Mr Glen said: “It actually sounds like you’ve got a jet plane constantly above. You can almost feel the sound it’s that deep and loud. Last week there was about five days of that noise and it was constant, night and day.”