Equinor: Hammerfest LNG Repairs Could Take a Year

Mike Schuler
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October 26, 2020

The Hammerfest LNG-plant at Melkøya, Norway. Image courtesy Equinor

The Hammerfest LNG plant in Norway will be closed for up to 12 months for repairs following a fire last month, its operator Equinor said Monday.

The fire on September 28 damaged the air intake on of the the plant’s five power turbines. Large amounts of seawater from the extinguishing have damaged other auxiliary systems such as electrical equipment and cables in the plant, Equinor said.

No personnel were injured in the incident.

“It is the scope of work of this consequential damage that are considered the most extensive and the duration of the shutdown will depend on the delivery time of necessary equipment. Progress will also be affected by the current restrictions related to the Covid 19 virus,” the company said in a statement.

The Hammerfest LNG plant receives and processes natural gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. The natural gas is then cooled to liquid, stored in tanks and exported via LNG carriers. Interestingly, Snøhvit is the first development in the Barents Sea and first major development on the Norwegian continental shelf with no surface installations.

“Safety is the first priority and we will not start the plant until we are sure that it can be done in a safe way. Therefore, we have worked systematically and thoroughly to survey the damage after the fire, and assess the technical condition of the plant,” said plant director Andreas Sandvik.

“Although a lot of inspection work still remains and there is still significant uncertainty, our best estimate now is that that it may take up until 1 October 2021 to get Hammerfest LNG back into production,” Sandvik said.

Equinor will use the shutdown period carry out planned maintenance and repair work for 2021. This includes both ongoing maintenance and maintenance planned in a planned turnaround next spring, Sandvik said.

Equinor, as well as the PSA and the police have started independent investigations of the fire.

“The fire at Hammerfest LNG was a serious incident. The various investigations into the incident will be important in order to identify measures that will prevent similar incidents from happening again,” says Grete B. Haaland, senior vice president for Equinor’s onshore facilities.

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