Mossmorran: Production resumes at ExxonMobil chemical plant

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image captionExxonmobil's ethylene plant at Mossmorran was shut down in August for five months

Production has resumed at a chemical plant in Fife at the centre of complaints over flaring, following a temporary shutdown.

ExxonMobil, which began powering up the Mossmorran plant in January, said it had taken the "time required to diligently test and re-test processes and safety procedures".

The plant was closed in August after it suffered two boiler explosions.

A £140m project to maintain and upgrade the plant will also continue this year.

The plant has had many unplanned flaring incidents, leading to many complaints from locals to the environment watchdog Sepa over light and noise pollution.

image source, Curtis Maher
image captionMossmorran flaring during the start up earlier this month

Plant manager Jacob McAlister said: "As a safety mechanism, our flare remains a vital part of our operations and so we cannot rule out the need to use it in the future.

"However, the additional work we have conducted during the temporary shutdown is designed to help improve operational reliability and reduce the requirement for unplanned flaring."

ExxonMobil shares the Mossmorran site with Shell's Fife Natural Gas Liquids plant.

Shell has been forced to burn off excess ethane it usually sells to ExxonMobil during the shut down. ExxonMobil turns the ethane into ethylene.

Earlier this week about 200 workers at the site staged an unofficial walkout over safety concerns.

A public meeting about the Mossmorran site is being held at Lochgelly Town Hall later.

image source, Richard Webb

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