Norway’s Equinor still expects Hammerfest LNG restart in March

Norwegian energy group Equinor is still expecting to bring back online its Hammerfest LNG terminal in March this year, following a fire that broke out at the facility in September 2020.

To remind, Equinor closed the 4.3 mtpa Hammerfest LNG plant on September 28, 2020. The fire occurred in turbine 4.

In April last year, the firm said the plant on Melkoya island would remain closed until March 2022 due to the scope of the repairs needed to restore the facility to safe production.

An Equinor spokeswoman told LNG Prime in emailed comments that there were no changes in the announced timeline.

“The plan is to start production 31 March,” she said.

Equinor completed its internal investigation into the incident in May last year, saying that the cause of the fire was “spontaneous ignition in the filters in the turbine’s air inlets, caused by excessively high temperature over a long period of time.”

“The anti-icing heat exchanger in the air inlet was used outside of its intended area of application, thus causing the high temperature that triggered the fire,” the firm said.

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.

Equinor is the operator of both the Snohvit field and Hammerfest LNG with a 36.8 percent stake.

Prior to the incident, the facility supplied LNG mainly to terminals in Europe but also in Asia.

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