Brightly burning Curtis flare just a phase

THE brightly burning flare on QCLNG at Curtis Island is undergoing its commissioning phase.

Residents have noticed the flare burning at its greatest luminosity since gas first arrived on the island in August.

A Bechtel spokeswoman yesterday told The Observer all flare activity was business as usual.

"There is presently a larger flame, owing primarily to fluctuations in gas pressure during the commissioning process. This is normal," she said.

"We will also be operating a second, smaller flare as part of commissioning LNG loading facilities.

"Flaring is a normal part of industry around the world and is part of our stringent safety controls.

"It is the most environmentally friendly way to release gas from the facility and is being done in line with our environmental authorities."

The larger flame is expected to continue during this week, and there will be some dark smoke as the system is tested.

The flare will be smaller and smokeless during normal operations.

The flare stack is almost 100m high and exceeds the international standards.