Oil and gas giant Total is applying to the council’s planning committee for changes to its plans for the Shetland Gas Plant, including nearly doubling the height of its flare stack and working a night shift.
The flare stack was originally to be 43 metres, but Total is seeking to increase this to 73 metres, necessary to dispose of gas in an emergency.
It would be slimmer than the original proposal and would require a 200 metre diameter “rock blanket” around its base as the heat could ignite surrounding vegetation. Although Scottish Natural Heritage initially feared this could cause a peat slide, the organisation now deems it an acceptable risk.
The gas plant is also seeking to construct platforms for processing plant, requiring alterations in drainage, and the erection of 42 equipment shelters to house some of the most sensitive equipment on the site.
Permission was formerly given for the gas plant to operate Monday to Saturday 7am to 7pm, but night shift working has already started in order to complete the construction by June next year. In addition, Total has applied retrospectively for some materials, plant and machinery to be moved by road from various locations in Shetland, rather than have everything brought in by sea to the Sullom Voe construction jetty.
The council’s roads service is concerned about the wear and tear on the roads, and is hoping to ensure a “financial contribution” from Total.
Shetland’s planning committee will consider these applications tomorrow morning.
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