FLAMES and smoke billowing over the past week from ESSO’s Long Island Point fractionation plant occurred because a customer had shut down and was unable to take as much ethane as usual.
Plant manager David McCord said a reduced quantity of the gas was being sent to plastics manufacturer Qenos and the excess was being emitted from the plant’s chimneys in short bursts of flame and smoke.
Hastings-based photographer Celia Furt said yesterday (Monday) the chimney was “bleeding flames and black smoke again with a small portion of the flame breaking loose”.
“Yesterday when I went out it seemed to be under control as the flames were ok and there was no black smoke,” she said.
“Today we are back in hell. We are back where we were for the whole week last week.”
Mr McCord said flaring was used as a safety mechanism to ensure “pressure relief” in emergencies. The plant handles LPG, crude oil, propane, butane and mercaptan. It employs 140 people.