A multinational oil and gas corporation will spend £140m to reduce flaring and improve reliability at a Fife chemical plant.
ExxonMobil announced the additional investment on Tuesday, stating the funding will support 850 construction jobs and benefit 40 local suppliers over the next two years at its Mossmorran site.
Jacob McAlister, manager at the ethylene plant, said: “These planned investments demonstrate our commitment to long-term reliable operations at the site.
“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 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.
In April, a formal investigation was launched after hundreds of residents complained over unplanned flaring that went on for days.
Mr McAlister added: “We are committed to the highest operational and regulatory standards.
“This investment further contributes to the local economy and across Scotland through job creation and procurement contracts.”
The plant has been shut since mid-August for maintenance work on two of its three boilers and is expected to reopen towards the end of the year.
It began operations in 1985 and has a production capacity of more than 800,000 tonnes of ethylene a year.
In August Sepa varied the operating permits for ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell UK Limited, which shares the site, requiring them both to address the impacts of flaring and install noise-reducing flare tips.
Ian Buchanan, chief compliance officer at Sepa, said: “Sepa has been clear that repeated unplanned flaring by ExxonMobil was both unacceptable and preventable and that in future flaring will be the exception rather than routine.
“Having served a series of notices and operating permit variations to drive investment, including in noise-reducing flare tips by 2020, we welcome today’s broad announcement from ExxonMobil.
“We look forward to working with ExxonMobil on detailed proposals to both address the root causes of flaring and also on the requirement we have set around the shortest period possible to plan, design, build and safely integrate new ground flare technology which will significantly reduce impacts of flaring on local communities.”