THERE will be some flaring on Sunday at the Shell NGL Plant as they assist their ExxonMobil neighbours with their start-up process.

FEP manager Jacob McAlister said: "To allow us to safely conduct a key piece of work on our flare stack, the Shell Fife NGL plant has agreed to use their elevated flare for a few hours on Sunday.

"It is expected that this will not be high volume flaring. This arrangement is required to divert the small amount of vapour that has been flared through the FEP stack since we temporarily shut down. We will move to complete this work as safely and as quickly as possible, following which FEP will then return to its current configuration".

Shell chief, Teresa Waddington confirmed: "I have agreed to a plan to use the NGL elevated flare stack for a few hours on Sunday to enable FEP to carry out some work on their plant as they build towards start-up in January. It should not be high volume and we are working hard to ensure there is minimal elevated flaring during their work before Christmas; there is none planned over Christmas. We have informed the regulator the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) of the situation".

Ms Waddington added: "As you may know, the Fife NGL ground flares have been in use to burn a smaller than usual volume of ethane arriving at the plant since FEP shut down temporarily.

"I mentioned in my note in August that Shell took measures to lower the amount of ethane piped to Mossmorran. Shell restricted the overall amount of gas from North Sea gas fields that arrives at the St Fergus gas plant near Peterhead. We also put as much ethane as we’re permitted to into the mix we send to the National Grid at St Fergus, and we have taken other measures where we can.

"While we are very conscious of the community impacts of ground-flaring of the excess ethane, it is important that the Fife NGL plant continues to operate as it has done since August for two reasons.

"Firstly, our operation enables methane gas to be separated at St Fergus Gas Plant for the National Grid to supply homes, businesses and power stations. And secondly, the Fife NGL plant continues to supply the propane, butane, and gasoline that thousands of customers rely on. Both these aspects of energy supply are as necessary over Christmas and the winter as during the rest of the year".

She concluded: "Within this unusual operating mode at Mossmorran, we will continue to manage our operations to keep flaring to a minimum. I recognise the inconvenience it can cause, and I hope this update is helpful in explaining the situation. Please rest assured that we will continue to operate with care, and with the community in mind over Christmas."