Norway’s Equinor has closed its 4.3 mtpa Hammerfest LNG export plant due to a gas leak.
“I can confirm that a gas leakage has been detected at Hammerfest LNG. Production is now shut down to handle the leakage,” a spokesperson for Equinor told LNG Prime on Wednesday.
“It is too early to say when it will be started again,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also confirmed that the LNG plant was closed from May 4 to May 24 due to a problem with a heath exchanger.
Gas leak stopped
Equinor said in an update later on Wednesday that the gas leak had been stopped and “normalization is under way”.
The company’s emergency response organization has been demobilized and the emergency services have left Melkoya.
According to Equinor, the leak occurred 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.
“There were 98 people present at the factory when the incident occurred. All personnel are accounted for and no injuries were reported,” it said.
Equinor started again shipping LNG from the Hammerfest terminal in June last year since a fire that broke out at the facility in September 2020.
Hammerfest LNG liquefies natural gas coming from the Snohvit field in the Barents Sea.
Gas reaches Hammerfest LNG via a 160-kilometer gas pipeline which became operational in the autumn of 2007.
The firm and its partners are also upgrading the plant.
Equinor is the operator of both the Snohvit field and Hammerfest LNG with a 36.8 percent stake.
Other license owners of Snohvit are Petoro (30 percent), TotalEnergies EP Norge (18.4 percent), Neptune Energy Norge (12 percent), and Wintershall Dea Norge (2.81 percent).
(Article updated to say that the gas leak had been stopped.)