Mossmorran: “Progress is being made”

Key report findings on flaring at Fife Ethylene Plant are due out in April, Mossmorran Working Group has learned today (Friday).
The well-attended meeting, held in Kirkcaldy, was co-chaired by Lesley Laird MP and Prof. Wilson Sibbett, chairman of the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Independent Air Quality Review Group.
The group heard that the Best Available Technology (BAT) report, commissioned by HSE and SEPA, was due out in April.
David Green HSE Head of Operations said: “We’ve carried out a number of inspections investigating the root cause that led to flaring.
“We’ve raised a number of actions, all of which have been complied with.”
Three particular factors were identified: third party verification of work on site, a pressure spike and interconnectivity between pipes; the relationship between pipes and flaring mechanisms.
Mr Green stressed that HSE’s priority was to protect health and safety at the plant and flaring was an essential safety mechanism.
Lesley said: “It was pleasing that so many of the attendees acknowledged and recognised that progress had been made.
“I am particularly delighted that there is genuine and open dialogue now happening with the community and that this provides the foundation for constructive working relationships going forward.
“There are some areas still to complete but everyone is committed to doing so.”
Jacob McAllister, who recently replaced Sonia Bingham as plant manager of Exxon Mobil, pledged the company had “no bigger priority” than the protection of staff, communities and the environment and its ultimate goal was to “eliminate flaring”.
“It’s better for business, it’s better for the environment and its better for communities. We don’t want it to happen,” he said.
“We strive every day as a company for perfection. We have to strive for that.”
He did acknowledge that Exxon Mobil had “to do a better job of keeping the community informed” and had hired a new community liaison manager, Stuart Neal, as a commitment to that pledge.
The meeting also learned that SEPA, in conjunction with the National Physical Laboratory, began an air quality monitoring exercise in January.
The exercise, expected to run until April, was described by Prof. Wilson Sibbett as a “substantial piece of work”. The results are expected to be published later this year.
It was agreed that Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community and Safety Committee Group needed to be more transparent and include wider community membership.
It was also recognised that communication from groups had still to reach a wider audience
The Mossmorran Working Group is expected to meet again in June.