Royal Dutch Shell has dismissed “major safety concerns” allegations brought up by the UK’s largest trade union, Unite, reassuring safety of its operations remain paramount, Kallanish Energy reports.
Unite said on Wednesday Shell was reducing “vital” maintenance contractor jobs at its Mossmorran plant in Fife and St Fergus gas terminal “by more than 80%.” It claimed the compulsory redundancies at the Scottish gas plants raised “critical” health and safety concerns. The trade union also warned that fire and safety responses to any major incidents at the plants “could be severely impact.”
However, a Shell spokesman told Kallanish Energy on Thursday the company didn’t recognize the figures presented by Unite, “as the planned reduction in our core maintenance team is 12%. Other reductions are due to seasonal projects that have already been completed.”
Shell said it has re-phased its maintenance schedule for the coming years, with the bulk of work to be managed by its core maintenance team. They will be supported by contractor workers, such as painters and scaffolders, who will be brought in to work on maintenance campaigns as required.
“The safety of our plants, our teams and our communities is paramount and will not be compromised. Maintenance will be done at the right time by the right specialists. They will now be contracted for specific projects, rather than being based at the plants full time,” he said.
According to Shell, its core maintenance team, including staff and contractors, is 125. After the reduction, the team will be 110. Unite claims the supermajor is cutting 63 out of 77 jobs at the Mossmorran plant and 46 out of 52 jobs at St Fergus.
The St Fergus gas plant is “integral” to meeting the UK’s gas needs, receiving gas from the North Sea and Norway and feeding the national grid. The plant extracts and separates natural gas liquids (NGLs) for export by onshore pipeline to the Shell Fife NGL plant in Mossmorran. The site exports NGL and ethylene globally.
Around 30% of all natural gas used in the UK comes onshore at St Fergus for processing. Typically, 20% of this is domestic gas supply and the rest comes from Norway.
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