Norway’s Equinor wraps up internal investigation into Hammerfest LNG fire

Norway’s Equinor has completed its internal investigation into a fire that broke out at the Hammerfest LNG plant in September last year.

To remind, Equinor closed the Hammerfest LNG plant on September 28 following the fire in turbine 4. The plant will remain closed until March next year due to the scope of the repairs needed to restore the facility to safe production.

The completion of the company’s investigation also follows PSA’s recent announcement saying it has identified regulation breaches following its investigation into the fire.

Equinor said on Wednesday 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.

Contrary to PSA’s findings, Equinor said that its investigation group does not “believe that the maintenance interval for exchanging the filters that self-ignited is a contributing cause.”

However, both the PSA report and Equinor’s investigation confirm that the fire was unlikely to spread to other parts of the facility, it said.

“Several direct and underlying factors”

Equinor says a single technical or human error did not cause the incident. It was the result of “several direct and underlying factors.”

The investigation has considered underlying causes related to organisation, capacity, competence and management.

Equinor said it would follow up on the findings in a “dedicated improvement initiative.”

The Norwegian energy giant is also following up all the orders and nonconformities in the PSA’s investigation of the fire, and will present a plan to the PSA for complying with the orders by June 1.

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 fuel produced at the facility mainly lands at LNG terminals in Europe but also in Asia.

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

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