Production at the Equinor Energy AS-operated Hammerfest LNG plant on the Island of Melkøya, outside Hammerfest, Norway, has stopped following a gas leak that occurred and was remedied the same day. The operator said it is “too soon” to say when production at the plant can be resumed.
The leak occurred May 31 in connection with a valve in one of the plant’s cooling circuits. The gas that leaked is used for cooling during production of LNG. The leak has been stopped, and normalization is under way, the operator said in a release.
Equinor’s emergency response organization was mobilized, and the incident was handled in collaboration with emergency services. Relevant authorities were notified. There were 98 people present at the plant when the incident occurred. All personnel are accounted for, and no injuries were reported.
Equinor’s emergency response organization has been demobilized and emergency services have since left Melkøya, the company said.
Production at the 6.5 billion cu m/year plant began in 2007 (5% of Norway’s gas export capacity). In September 2020, a turbine fire at the plant caused a 2-year shutdown during which time Equinor said extensive repairs and improvement work were completed (OGJ Online, June 2, 2022).
In early May, Hammerfest LNG was offline for about 20 days "due to a problem with a heat exchanger," Evercore ISI analysts noted in a report May 31.
Partners at Hammerfest LNG are Petoro AS, TotalEnergies EP Norge AS, Neptune Energy Norge AS, and Wintershall Dea Norge AS.