EXXONMOBIL has this morning (Tuesday) announced £140 million will be spent on reducing flaring at Mossmorran and the reliability of the Fife Ethylene Plant.

The company have revealed that they will make the investment over the next two years to upgrade, 'key infrastructure and introduce new technologies that will significantly improve operational reliability and performance'.

“These planned investments demonstrate our commitment to long-term reliable operations at the site,” said Jacob McAlister, plant manager at the Fife Ethylene Plant.

“While already one of the most modern plants of its kind in Europe, we are always looking for ways to improve reliability and efficiency through continued maintenance and investment in new technologies. Fife has a long-term future as a competitive asset, contributing to both the local and national economies.”

A portion of the £140 million investment will go toward technologies that reduce the impact of flaring, including a state-of-the-art flare tip, which will reduce noise and vibration.

The project will support approximately 850 local construction jobs and benefit 40 local suppliers.

“We are committed to the highest operational and regulatory standards,” said McAlister.

“This investment further contributes to the local economy and across Scotland through job creation and procurement contracts.”

The Fife Ethylene Plant began operations in 1985 and has a production capacity of over 800,000 tonnes of ethylene a year.

Reacting to the news, MSP Alex Rowley, said: “The announcement of this investment while welcome does nothing to reassure people that the plant won’t keep breaking down, indeed the main focus seems to be investment to help dampen down the impact of flaring which happens when something goes wrong in the plant.

"We need to know what the overall condition of the plant is and why it keeps breaking down causing worry, stress and additional pollution.

“There is also a failure to recognise the impact on people in these last few years, on their health and wellbeing. The refusal of the Scottish Government to order an independent inquiry as called for by Fife Council is disappointing. 

"The council have said that compensation should be made available to all who have suffered and the local communities and that will come to a lot more than the small investment being announced today."