Fine of £2.8m for failure to disclose carbon dioxide omission

Alex Rowley at Mossmorran Cowdenbeath


Oil giant ExxonMobil failed to comply with the reporting regulations for emissions of carbon dioxide from its Mossmorran Plant at Cowdenbeath resulting in the biggest fine for an environmental offence in British history. Alex Rowley says he wants ExxonMobil to explain the errors which led to the failure to report 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide omission from the plant.

The local councillor wants to know why they failed to report greenhouse gas emissions from its chemicals plant in Scotland which resulted in the company being fined £2.8 million by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The company  neglected to account for 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from its ethylene plant in Fife and the fine which was not publicised by SEPA  was levied in September 2010.

The company’s Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran Cowdenbeath was opened in 1986 and can produce up to 830,300 tonnes of ethylene a year, much of which is used to make plastic. It is also the third-largest source of greenhouse gases in the UK’s chemicals sector and regulations on carbon emissions  put in place stringent fines for not complying with the legislation.

SEPA’s enforcement statistics report, says ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd informed the agency that it had identified three sources of carbon dioxide that had not been reported in its return for 2008. While the Fife plant had verified emissions of 708,369 tonnes of carbon dioxide that year  it only reported 675,403 tonnes, a discrepancy of 32,966 tonnes. Given that each tonne attracts a $100 fine, making the final bill $3.3 million or £2.8m.

Commenting on the news that ExxonMobil has been find £2.8 million for not disclosing the amount of carbon dioxide from its Mossmorran Plant in Fife, Alex Rowley said; “I have continued to raise issues around the plant and some of the extreme flaring and noise in recent years and I have to say I am concerned at this latest revelation. I am very worried that although a massive fine was imposed on the company any detail on the issues around this seems to have been buried pretty much out of public knowledge. You have to search hard to find this information and this does not bode well for either the company or the Scottish government.

“We need to know firstly, why the difference in the amount of emissions of carbon dioxide going into the air around our communities compared to that being declared was not picked up by SEPA, second, why when it was then corrected by the company it was not made public, third, why the Scottish government then took the £2.8 million income from the fine without disclosing this to the public and fourth what did they do with the money?

“We the people who live in the communities around Mossmorran are entitled to answers and the lack of public information on this is just not acceptable”.


Post Author: Alex Rowley