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Shell forced to burn off gas it cannot sell in Mossmorran

October 07/2019

MOSOCW (MRC) -- Shell has been forced to burn off "significant" volumes of ethane because it cannot sell it to a firm that has temporarily shut down its plant with flaring issues in Fife, reported BBC News.

Residents living near the Mossmorran site thought flaring would be reduced after Exxonmobil closed in August.
However, flares have continued to burn because Shell's only ethane customer is Exxonmobil, which shares the site.
Shell said it was "actively exploring alternative ethane outlets".

Exxonmobil chose to temporarily close its plant to undertake maintenance on its boilers.

Shell's Fife Natural Gas Liquids plant separates natural gas liquids into ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline for storage and onward distribution.

It sells its ethane to Exxonmobil's neighbouring Fife Ethylene plant, which turns it into ethylene.

Since the Fife Ethylene Plant was temporarily closed down Shell said it "did not have the storage capacity for the significant quantities of ethane produced from North Sea gas".

Exxonmobil's plant at the site will be closed until at least November for work to be carried out to make the plant more "reliable".

A total of GBP140m of work will also be spent by Exxonmobil improving the plant.

ExxonMobil said it had started recruiting 850 temporary workers to carry out the work over the next 12 months.
The operator said the investment was on top of the GBP20m it spends annually on maintaining its Mossmorran site.

A Shell Fife Natural Gas Liquids spokesman said: "The (ExxonMobil) Fife Ethylene Plant is currently the primary customer for ethane supplied by the Shell Fife Natural Gas Liquids plant, and processes ethane into ethylene.
"Our ground flares are burning excess ethane as the Fife Ethylene plant is currently not available for receiving the ethane to process it into ethylene.

"We have taken measures within the North Sea (SEGAL) supply system to help to manage the situation and are actively exploring alternative ethane outlets during the temporary shutdown.

"However, the volume taken by the Fife Ethylene plant is significant and any solution is likely to be for some volume rather than the full volume of ethane the Fife Natural Gas Liquids plant produces."

James Glen, chairman of the Mossmorran Action Group, said: "I think it is ironic that Shell is being forced to flare off excess product because of the problems at Exxonmobil.

"Residents had hoped for some respite but they are having to continue to suffer from light and noise impact as a result of Shell's flaring."

As MRC wrote earlier, Exxon Mobil Corp is planning to spend more than 500 million pounds (USD650 million) to upgrade the UKs largest oil refinery, Fawley, on Englands south coast.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polyprolypele (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption was 1,081,100 tonnes in the first half of 2019, up by 8% year on year. Deliveries of all PE grades increased. Meanwhile, the estimated consumption of PP in the Russian market totalled 694,210 tonnes in January-June 2019, up by 14% year on year. The supply of propylene block copolymers (PP-block) and propylene homopolymers (PP-homo) increased.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.


mrcplast.com
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, PP block copolymer, homopolymer PP, propylene, ethylene, Exxon Mobil, Shell, UK, Russia.
Category:General News
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