StatoilHydro shutting down Hammerfest LNG for 3 months

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 14
-- StatoilHydro’s Hammerfest LNG plant on Melkoya Island in northern Norway will be shut down on Aug. 15 for upgrading and maintenance for as long as 3 months, the company announced. Since the plant’s 2007 start-up, upgrading and replacement of equipment have been carried out to increase the plant's production.

From February, said the company, the plant has produced at about full nominal capacity of 4.1 million tonnes/year. “To secure this level, the plant has to be made more robust,” the announcement said.

A major operation will be replacing 15 heat exchangers, which form the core of the process that liquefies Snohvit development gas. During the shutdown and before the mechanical work can begin, all gas must be removed from the plant. Some flaring will therefore take place during the first day of the stoppage.

Hammerfest LNG will resume production in November, said the company.

Although the company claims official start-up in second-half 2007 and the plant did send out its first cargo in late October (OGJ Online, Oct. 25, 2007), the plant was plagued by outages for the remainder of the year and into 2008 (OGJ Online, Feb. 25, 2008).

The development
Snohvit, which encompasses the subsea field development as well as the Hammerfest LNG plant, is the first offshore development in the Barents Sea. It has no surface field installations and brings natural gas to Melkoya Island for liquefaction and export. Hammerfest is the first plant of its kind in Europe, the world’s northernmost LNG plant, and the only one inside the Arctic Circle.

Subsea production facilities in the Barents Sea stand on the seabed, in water depths of 250-345 m, according to company information. From the Snohvit, Askeladd, and Albatross fields, 20 wells are to produce gas to be transported through a 143-km pipeline.

For Snohvit, 9 wells are planned, including 8 for production and 1 for reinjecting carbon dioxide. During 2004-05, 6 of the producers and the CO2 injector were drilled, with the remaining two to follow in 2011.

Production wells on Albatross were drilled in 2005-06, according to the company. Snohvit and Albatross wells came on stream in 2007. The Askeladd part of the development is due on stream in 2014-15.

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