The operators at Fife Ethelyne Plant have said ‘“good progress” has been made to repair the pump which led to the latest unscheduled flaring on Saturday night, sparking more criticism of ExxonMobil.
The plant has already had one final warning from SEPA – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency – for an unscheduled flaring last summer, and there are two further incidents still under investigation.
The latest statement from ExxonMobil said the pump – one of over 200 at the plant – is being repaired, and would be brought back into commission.
It also gave more detail about the cause of the unscheduled flaring.
Sonia Bingham, plant manager, said: “Good progress is being made as our maintenance team and specialist supplier work around the clock to resolve the issue.
“The failed pump is being repaired utilising the available spares needed and we will then commence the commissioning of the pump into operation.”
She added: “Ethylene production is a complex industrial process, and the work to bring the new pump into operation will involve, amongst other things, cooling it to -30oC.
Providing there are no complications, we expect to resume normal operations within two days. ‘’
ExxonMobil said it was also conducting noise monitoring in the local communities.
The statement also shed some more light on Saturday’s incident which saw no fewer than seven fire crews dispatched to the plant.
“The emergency services attended the site for around three hours as a precaution while we isolated the pump, per our standard procedure. As soon as the pump was isolated, the emergency services were stood down,’’ added the plant manager.
Apologising again to local communities impacted by the noise and visual impact of the flaring, she also stressed: “Safety and environmental protection are our highest priorities and we will do all we can to keep flaring to a minimum. We are working closely with SEPA as we resolve the issue.
“We apologise to local communities for any disturbance and are in contact with local agencies and community groups to ensure local residents are kept informed.