OIL giant Shell has unveiled plans to power up its site at a north-east gas terminal.
The firm has tabled a bid to instal two new furnaces at its base within the St Fergus plant, on the coast between Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
The huge gas-fired heaters, which cover an area of 8,600sq ft, will be brought in to replace existing furnaces.
The current installations date back to 1982 and a recent inspection found they had become badly corroded over the years.
They will now be replaced as part of Shell’s continuing £350million regeneration scheme.
A spokeswoman said: “Given the results of the inspection, upgrading the furnaces to meet standard was not considered feasible.
“A decision was made to replace them. A number of options were studied and the only feasible option has been to replace the furnaces with two similar ones.”
The new burners will significantly lower emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. They will be fired on natural gas and there will be no emissions of sulphur dioxide.
The rejuvenation plan involves creating a new link for gas imports from Norway. St Fergus bosses say with- out further investment, operations at the plant would soon be forced to wind down, having reached the end of their 25-year life- span.
Last summer, the project ground to a halt after workers discovered that a family of kestrels had made their home in a 150ft stack at the centre of the site.
The delay, for around 12 weeks, cost the company thousands of pounds.
Shell’s plans for the replacement furnaces have been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council and are being considered by planning officers.