Unplanned flaring from ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd

20 August 2019

Article: 53/3309

Following unplanned flaring at the Mossmorran Ethylene Plant, Fife which started on 12 August 2019, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) convened a multi-agency group with Fife Council, NHS Fife and Health Protection Scotland (HPS).

On 15 August 2019, ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd advised SEPA that the ExxonMobil Fife Ethylene Plant had successfully been fully shut down. The plant is expected to remain in shutdown for about four weeks whilst remedial maintenance is undertaken. SEPA has continued its deployment of air quality and noise monitoring at locations in Lochgelly, Auchtertool and Donibristle for public reassurance. Monitoring continues to demonstrate air quality in line with expectations of controlled flaring events.

On 16 August 2019, SEPA announced the outcome of its review into Best Available Techniques (BAT) assessments by ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell UK Limited. SEPA’s review of the assessments has found that ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell UK Limited are not currently using all Best Available Techniques for flaring. The agency acknowledged ExxonMobil’s recognition of the requirement to upgrade their plant but found that their proposed timescales to increase capacity and accessibility to ground flares were unacceptable. SEPA found that Shell UK Limited had not sufficiently demonstrated that the proposed principles, approach and level of upgrade to the plant would achieve Best Available Techniques and were also unacceptable. SEPA will now move within seven days to vary operating permits to include required timescales for the implementation of Best Available Techniques, and timescales for the provision of further details required.

SEPA’s response documents, the proposals from ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell UK Limited and SEPA’s latest air quality monitoring summary report from the latest incident have been published on their website.

Source: SEPA, 16 August 2019