What is Mossmorran?

Mossmorran is the name of an area in Fife near Cowdenbeath, 20 km north of Edinburgh. The Mossmorran complex consists of two neighbouring plants: the Fife Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Plant operated by Shell U.K. Limited and the Fife Ethylene Plant operated by ExxonMobil. They both link by pipeline to a marine terminal at Braefoot Bay, where products are loaded onto ships.

What do the plants do?

The Shell Fife NGL plant operates around the clock, every day of the year to process energy products. Through heating and cooling processes, the Shell plant separates gas and associated liquids taken from under the North Sea into propane, butane, and natural gasoline, which are used every day by people, homes and businesses, and ethane which is supplied to a neighbouring plant. 

The Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) operated by ExxonMobil converts the ethane into ethylene. Ethylene is the base material for the manufacture of plastics used in food packaging, medical equipment, car parts and many more products in our lives.

Welcome to Shell Fife NGL

Title: Shell Project Mossmorran

Duration: 3:54 minutes

Description: 

A short video of various workers at Shell talking about their natural gas plant at Mossmorran

[Background music plays]

Bright, uplifting orchestral music

[Video footage]

Various shots of the Mossmorran plant showing different viewpoints of the plant against the green hills and blue sky.

[Mark Downes]

Production Coordinator

[Mark Downes]

Welcome to Shell’s natural gas and liquid plant, here at Mossmorran

[Video footage]

Scene shows workers walking on a pathway from the plant against the green fields and blue skies

[Video footage]

Scene of two workers speaking to each other with their backs to the camera

[Mark Downes]

We are a natural gas facility, processing gas from the North Sea to meet industry and domestic power needs.

[Video footage]

Shot of worker, close-up looking into the distance

Shot of worker talking on handheld transceiver, looking up with the plant blurred in the background

Shot of two workers having a conversation with each other

Close-up of worker speaking animatedly

[Mark Downes]

There is one facility, made up of two distinct plants

[Video footage]

Infographic of Britain with arrows coming out of two 2 red dots highlighted on Britain.

[Text displays]

FIFE Ethylene Plant: Exxon Mobil

[Text displays]

FIFE NGL Plant: Shell UK

[Video footage]

Shot of Mark Downes speaking to camera

[Mark Downes]

Come and have a look around

[Video footage]

Shell workers walking away from camera with the plant in the background. One is opening a gate.

[Text displays]

What do we do here?

[Video footage]

Shot of Craig Burnett talking directly to camera

[Craig Burnett]

Plant Manager

[Craig Burnett]

A mixture of gases that we receive at St. Fergus

[Video footage]

Infographic of Britain with arrows coming out of two 2 red dots highlighted on Britain.

[Text displays]

FIFE Ethylene Plant: Exxon Mobil

[Text displays]

FIFE NGL Plant: Shell UK

[Text displays]

NORTH SEA

[Craig Burnett]

…are produced in number of fields in the UK and Norwegian North Sea

[Video footage]

Shot of Mark Downes talking directly to camera

[Mark Downes]

The purpose of St Fergus is to extract the methane from the feed stock and that gets pumped directly into the National Grid, into the homes of the nation.

[Video footage]

Shot of Craig Burnett talking directly to camera

[Craig Burnett]

The remaining components of the gas travel back by pipeline to our plant

[Video footage]

Shot of the pipeline with a yellow highlight demonstrating the return of the remaining components to the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant with animation of the chemical compounds

[Text displays]

ETHANE,

[Text displays]

 PROPANE

[Text displays]

BUTANE

[Text displays]

 NATURAL GASOLINE

[Craig Burnett]

We receive Ethane, Propane, Butane and Natural Gasoline. These gases are put into their component form.

[Video footage]

Shot of Mark Downes talking directly to camera

[Mark Downes]

Using heating and cooling mechanisms, we heat up the feed stock then different components boil off into their gassiest state

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[Mark Downes]

We provide key raw materials for a huge range of everyday products

[Video footage]

Hand squirting washing up liquid onto a sponge on a kitchen surface with saucepan blurred in the background.

[Text displays]

Detergent

[Video footage]

Shot of a wall of trainers in a shop

[Text displays]

Trainers

[Video footage]

Shot of an I.V drip

[Text displays]

Medical Equipment

[Video footage]

Shot of Craig Burnett talking directly to camera

[Craig Burnett]

The Propane and Butane are either shipped via our Braefoot Bay Terminal to go on to further refining

[Video footage]

Infographic of Britain

[Text displays]

Braefoot Bay Terminal

[Text displays]

FIFE NGL plant Shell UK

[Video footage]

Shot of lorry pulling around the side of road with fields in the background

[Craig Burnett]

…or via road transport network which go to off grid customers and end users

[Video footage]

Shot of lighthouse on the top of a hill looking out to sea

[Video footage]

Shot of saucepans boiling on a stove

[Video footage]

Shot of stove being lit

[Craig Burnett]

And our ethane is provided to the 5 ethalene plants

[Video footage]

Shot of plant

[Video footage]

Shot of plant

[Text displays]

Why is this so important to the UK’s energy system?

[Video footage]

Shot of workers walking towards camera

[Video footage]

Shot of workers walking towards camera

[Video footage]

Shot of a town at dusk – lots of houses with a river running through it and hills in the background

[Text displays]

The plant plays a critical role in the natural energy system as it enables a separation of methane which is fed into the National Grid at St. Fergus.

[Video footage]

Shot of remote hills and land

[Text displays]

The plant also directly supplies gas to homes and business off grid.

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of Craig Burnett talking directly to camera

[Craig Burnett]

Shell has a target to be a Net Zero emissions energy business by 2050 in step with society.

[Video footage]

Shot of blue sky with clouds

[Text displays]

NET ZERO 2050

[Video footage]

Shot of windmill turning against the blue sky

[Video footage]

Shot of plant

[Video footage]

Shot of plant

[Craig Burnett]

We realise our business plans need to change to make that happen

[Video footage]

Shot of Craig Burnett talking directly to camera

[Craig Burnett]

We recognize that society is transitioning away from fossil fuels. However 80 percent of Britain’s homes are still heated by natural gas

[Video footage]

Bird’s eye view of rows of houses

[Video footage]

Hand adjusting the thermostat on a radiator

[Video footage]

Close up shot of stove being lit

[Video footage]

Beach and town

[Video footage]

Shot of plant flaring

[Text displays]

What is flaring and why does that happen?

[Video footage]

Shot of Craig Burnett talking directly to camera

[Craig Burnett]

Shell has a target to be a Net Zero emissions energy business by 2050 in step with society.

[Video footage]

Shot of Vanessa Costa talking directly to camera

[Vanessa Costa]

Operations Engineer

[Vanessa Costa]

Here at FNGL, we have two different types of flares. We have the ground flare and we have the elevated flare as you can see behind me

[Video footage]

Shot of elevated flare against the green countryside and blue flare

[Vanessa Costa]

Think of flaring as a safety valve for the safe operation of the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of a safety valve

[Text displays]

Safety valve

[Video footage]

Shot of flaring burning into blue sky

[Video footage]

Shot of Vanessa Costa talking directly to camera

[Vanessa Costa]

This is a safe and controlled burning of gas that we cannot process

[Video footage]

Shot of plant against the countryside

[Text displays]

Occasional use of our elevated flare stack is required to run the plant safely and this is typically for hours rather than days

[Video footage]

Shot of plant against the countryside

[Text displays]

We aim to avoid and minimize flaring, and notify the community as we recognize this can be an inconvenience

[Video footage]

Shot of Vanessa Costa talking directly to camera

[Vanessa Costa]

All flaring activities are closely monitored and controlled via our central control room

[Video footage]

Shot of room with computers and screens monitoring the flaring

[Video footage]

Shot of a man sitting at desk in the control room

[Video footage]

Shot of Vanessa Costa talking directly to camera

[Vanessa Costa]

We notify community in advance with regards to planned events and as soon as possible during unplanned events

[Video footage]

Shot of 2 workers in conversation with the plant in the background

[Video footage]

Shot of worker looking at clipboard talking into walkie talkie.

[Video footage]

Shot of laptop with someone typing. Shell helmet is on the desk in the background

[Video footage]

Shot of Vanessa Costa looking towards her laptop

[Video footage]

Shot of windmill at plant through a window

[Video footage]

Shot of plant

[Text displays]

How clean and safe is the operation here?

[Video footage]

Shot of Claire Davidson talking directly to camera

[Claire Davidson]

Health, Safety, Security and Environment Lead

[Claire Davidson]

The plant operates under some of the highest safety and environmental regulations of any industry

[Video footage]

Shot of two workers with gloves and incubating tubes

[Claire Davidson]

The health and safety executor carry out regular inspections

[Video footage]

Shot of machines monitoring the numbers to adhere to inspection protocol

[Claire Davidson]

Our environmental performance is overseen by the Scottish Environment protection agency. Independent reviews continue to report the emissions from the plant pose no significant health risk to the local community

[Video footage]

Shot of two workers speaking to each other, one is with his back to the camera and the other one is laughing

[Video footage]

Shot of worker with helmet and safety glasses, looking up with the blue sky in the background

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of the Scottish flag blowing in the wind

[Video footage]

Shot of the Shell flag blowing in the wind

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[Claire Davidson]

Independent reviews continue to report the emissions from the plant pose no significant health risk to the local community

[Video footage]

Shot of a worker riding a bike around the plant grounds. He is wearing a helmet

[Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[Craig Burnett]

Shell Mossmorran has been part of the community for over 30 years now

[Video footage]

Shot of Craig Burnett talking directly to camera

[Video footage]

Shot of BP workers talking to each other

[Vanessa Costa]

And we know how important it is to be a good neighbour

[Video footage]

Shot of Vanessa Costa talking to camera

[Video footage]

Shot of Mark Groves talking to camera

[Mark Groves]

I hope this has helped you understand what we do here at FGNL and at how our workforce must play a part in these key energy systems

[Video footage]

Shot of worker smiling and laughing with one of his colleagues

[Video footage]

Shot of 3 workers together looking at the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of worker wearing hard hat looking up at the plant

[Video footage]

Shot of Vanessa Costa walking around the plant towards the camera.

 [Video footage]

Shot of the plant

[TITLE CARD]

SHELL LOGO

[Text displays]

SHELL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED 2021

Propane, Butane, Gasoline

These are used in:

  • Heating for houses not on the gas grid
  • Car tyres
  • Aerosol sprays such as deodorants
  •  BBQs and cookers

Ethane, made into Ethylene

Is used in products such as:

  • Car windscreens
  • Food packaging
  • Anaesthetic for medical procedures
  • Detergents

Why does the plant matter to the UK?

Shell’s Fife NGL plant at Mossmorran is a critical part of the national energy system because it facilitates the separation of natural gas – methane – from other gases and liquids that come from the North Sea to be fed into the National Grid at St Fergus near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

The Shell Fife NGL plant receives and processes the other gases and liquids thereby facilitating the flow of natural gas to homes and businesses. Some 80% of the UK’s homes use natural gas, and gas-fired power stations typically generate a quarter of Britain’s electricity.

Did you know?

It’s estimated North Sea gas keeps more than 2.5 million homes warm with safe and reliable energy supply.

Around 30% of all natural gas used in the UK comes onshore at St Fergus, near Peterhead for processing (by Shell and other plants); typically 20% of this is domestic gas supply, and the rest comes from Norway.

Man wearing glass

How safe and clean is the operation?

The Shell Fife NGL plant operates under some of the highest environmental and safety regulations of any industry, overseen by two regulators. The Health and Safety Executive carry out regular inspections covering all aspects of workplace health and safety. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) oversee our environmental performance, including emissions from the plant. Local air quality data is reviewed by an independent air quality monitoring group run by Fife Council, which has consistently found and reported that emissions from the plants at Mossmorran continue to pose no significant risk to the health of the local community. 

How does Shell U.K’s Fife NGL plant sit with the Shell Group’s aim of helping the transition to lower carbon energy?

Tackling climate change while meeting the world’s energy needs is one of the greatest challenges faced by society. The Shell Group supports the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UK Government’s ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050. Globally, Shell has an ambition to become a net zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner.

The plant itself recently reviewed its energy consumption and seeks to identify opportunities to optimise its energy use to reduce emissions. The plant aims to continue to process gas products through the energy transition, meeting customer demand and enabling gas to be fed into the National Grid by providing an outlet for the other gas liquids that come from beneath the seabed.

Gas is the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon and has advantages when used alongside renewables, being able to quickly compensate for dips in solar or wind power, and rapidly respond to surges in demand.

Natural gas can also be important in parts of the economy that are hard to electrify such as the production of iron, steel and cement, which needs gas or oil to produce extremely high temperatures.

Industry pathway to net zero emissions 

In June 2020 Oil and Gas UK, which represents the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, also published its target of halving operational emissions in the next decade – onshore as well as offshore. OGUK has published a pathway to net zero emissions by 2050 making the oil and gas sector one of the first in the UK to establish industry-wide targets and provide details on how they can be achieved.

Shell Fife NGL plant at Mossmorran within the community

Shell’s plant has been a part of the community since 1985 and typically has a workforce of more than 250 people, most of whom live locally, as well as supporting other nearby businesses in the supply chain.

Flaring is occasionally required to run the Shell plant safely, acting like a safety valve when the plant is not in normal processing. At Fife NGL this is typically for hours rather than days. We aim to avoid and minimise flaring and we notify people nearby in advance of planned flaring and as soon as we can for any unplanned events. We continue to invest in ways to further minimise our impact.

The Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) is a distinct plant operated by a separate company called ExxonMobil. Click this link to go to the Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) website.

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Health, Safety and Environment

Find out about our commitment to safety and plant regulations, and why we may need to flare on occasion for the safe operation of the plant.

Shell Fife NGL Plant and the Community

Find out how we are part of the local community delivering real lasting benefits, including how to apply for a Shell Community Grant.

Community Notices and Contact

This area of the website is primarily for residents and the local community. You can find here local notices of our activities on site and in the community, as well as our plant emergency contact and feedback details.