SEPA statement on planned temporary shutdown of Fife Ethylene Plant

  06 April 2021

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is reassuring communities that it is fully engaged with ExxonMobil Chemical Limited following the operator’s community announcement that the site will begin its planned temporary shut down on 12 April.

While the process will require planned elevated flaring during the first day, the agency is content that plans are in place to minimise the impacts on local residents and businesses. The shut down is required to carry out planned maintenance and plant upgrades, including the installation of a low noise flare tip.

SEPA expects ExxonMobil to keep the duration and rate of flaring as low as possible and will have specialist regulatory and scientific staff deployed in local communities. Noise and air quality monitoring will also continue.

Terry A’Hearn, SEPA CEO, said:

“The work ExxonMobil Chemical Limited is beginning next week marks an important milestone on the site’s pathway to compliance. We have been clear that flaring, while an important safety feature of industrial facilities, will become the “exception rather than routine” and new infrastructure will help address the issues that cause most disturbance to local people.

“The £140m upgrade of the ExxonMobil Chemical Limited Fife Ethylene Plant, together with SEPA’s ongoing stringent regulatory requirements and permit variations, will significantly improve the reliability of the Fife Ethylene Plant, reducing the requirement for flaring and significantly reducing the community impact of flaring when it does occur.”