STAVANGER, Norway – Equinor’s Hammerfest LNG plant in northern Norway could be closed for up to 12 months for repairs, following a fire on Sept. 28.
In addition to damage caused by the fire on the air intake on one of the five power turbines, large volumes of seawater used for extinguishing the fire impacted other auxiliary systems such as electrical equipment and cables.
The duration of the shutdown will depend on the delivery time of necessary equipment, and restrictions related to COVID-19.
Hammerfest LNG, on Melkøya Island, outside Hammerfest, receives and processes gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea.
The gas is delivered through a 160-km (99.4-mi) subsea pipeline that started operating in the fall of 2007. At Hammerfest LNG, condensate, water, and CO2 are separated from the wellstream before the natural gas is cooled down, liquefied, and stored in dedicated tanks.
CO2 is separated from the natural gas and returned to the Snøhvit field for injection into a separate formation beneath the reservoirs. Equinor has expanded development recently, both of Snøhvit and the Askeladd satellite field.
Plant director Andreas Sandvik said: “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 Oct. 1, 2021 to get Hammerfest LNG back into production.
“We will use the shutdown period to also carry out other maintenance and repair work planned for 2021. This includes both ongoing maintenance and maintenance planned in a planned turnaround next spring.”
Equinor, the Petroleum Safety Authority, and the Norwegian police have all started independent investigations of the fire.