About Fife NGL
The Shell Fife Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Plant comprises two sites; the Mossmorran Fractionation Plant and the Braefoot Bay Marine Terminal.
The plant plays a key role in maximising the value of the North Sea’s natural resources. It receives the natural gas liquids via a 220km underground pipeline from the Shell St. Fergus Plant near Peterhead, which processes gas from the UK and Norway.
The purpose of the plant is to separate the incoming mix of natural gas liquids into their commercially tradable components - propane, butane, ethane and natural gasoline - and export these by pipeline to other plants in the vicinity or by sea through the Braefoot Bay Marine Terminal to international customers.
Location: The Fractionation Plant is located in Scotland approximately 3 kilometres (km) south-east of Cowdenbeath, Fife and covers an area of approximately 250 acres. The Braefoot Bay Marine Terminal is 7km south on the banks of the Firth of Forth.
Processing Facilities: Natural gas liquids are a valuable component of the hydrocarbons produced from many oil and gas fields. The oil and gas are immediately available for refining or to fuel the nation’s industry and domestic power requirements. The natural gas liquids require fractionation to provide premium fuels and feedstock to manufacture a huge range of household products. These include plastics, pharmaceuticals, paint, polish, adhesives, detergents, inks and dyes.
The natural gas liquids are separated by distillation in fractionation columns. Fractionation is a separation process in which one mixture is divided into a number of smaller parts, normally by heating or cooling the liquids.
At the plant, the natural gas liquids are separated into ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline.
The ethane is piped to an adjacent ethane cracker at the Fife Ethylene Plant operated by ExxonMobil for further processing and cracking, and a small quantity goes via pipeline to other customers at Grangemouth.
The propane and butane is chilled, liquefied and stored on site in vast tanks. The gasoline is also stored on site in floating roof tanks. These liquids are then transported via pipeline to the marine terminal at Braefoot Bay for loading onto ships for export. Products from Mossmorran are shipped worldwide and are used as fuel or processed further into chemicals.
Propane and butane are sold to the Avanti Gas Road Loading Terminal nearby. These have many uses, including home heating, autogas and aerosol propellant.
The gas plant is critical infrastructure for the UK and is protected 24-hours a day by security guards.