Equinor Energy AS has restarted production at Hammerfest LNG nearly 2 years after a fire broke out at the plant in September 2020, and during which time extensive repairs and improvement work were completed, the company said in a release June 2. The first liquified natural gas is on tank at the liquefaction plant on Melkoya Island in northern Norway, the operator continued.
Citing “continuing consequences from COVID-19 and operational restrictions,” the operator had previously moved the anticipated start date a number of times to allow more time to prepare for safe start-up and operations.
Norway supplies gas to Europe, and the volumes from Hammerfest LNG account for more than 5% of Norwegian gas exports, the company said. During normal production, Hammerfest LNG delivers around 6.5 billion cu m/year, equivalent to the annual gas demand of 6.5 million European households, according to Equinor.
Repairs of sophisticated equipment and compressors have been performed, in addition to a scheduled turnaround and ordinary maintenance. More than 22,000 components have been checked, and 180 km of electric cables have been replaced.
The plant receives gas through a 143-km pipeline from Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. Arctic Voyager, Arctic Lady, and Arctic Princess LNG tankers are anchored outside Melkøya, ready to receive new cargoes from Hammerfest LNG, Equinor said. In full production, a ship is expected to leave Melkøya about every 5 days.
Partners at Hammerfest LNG are Petoro AS, TotalEnergies EP Norge AS, Neptune Energy Norge AS, and Wintershall Dea Norge AS.