2010-12-22 Old Polmont and Grangemouth

I had two candidates for my photo today; I swithered long and hard and shall post the other one to my Miscellaneous album.

Anyway, this is a view over the Grangemouth oil refinery from the village of Old Polmont.

The refinery at Grangemouth takes a feed directly from the North Sea, transported by underground pipeline to the refinery.

So what happens when something goes wrong with the process? You have tens – maybe hundreds – of millions of tonnes of oil coming down that pipe, and it’s damned hard to stop. As I understand it, there is a finite amount of capacity to store oil, but when that is exhausted there is only one option – to burn it off until the flow from the pipe can be shut off.

And so we see the spectacular flare that illuminates the sky for miles around, and dwarfs the houses in Old Polmont.