Equinor LNG Plant Could Be Down for a Year
Surveys of damage from a late-September fire at the Hammerfest LNG plant in northern Norway will require the facility to be closed for up to 12 months for repairs, Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) reported Monday.
“Safety is the first priority and we will not start the plant until we are sure that it can be done in a safe way,” remarked Andreas Sandvik, Hammerfest plant director, in a written statement emailed to Rigzone. “Therefore, we have worked systematically and thoroughly to survey the damage after the fire and assess the technical condition of the plant.”
According to Equinor, the fire damaged the air intake on one of the plant’s five power turbines. Moreover, it pointed out that seawater from fire extinguishing operations damaged plant auxiliary systems such as electrical equipment and cables. The company noted the shutdown duration will hinge on delivery time for necessary equipment, along with restrictions tied to COVID-19.
In an Oct. 2 written statement, Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president of Marketing, Midstream and Processing, observed that “no one was injured in the fire or in fighting it.”
Cautioning that much inspection work remains and a significant amount of uncertainty still exists, Sandvik noted Monday that Equinor’s “best estimate” is that it may take until Oct. 1, 2021, for Hammerfest LNG to resume production.
“We will use the shutdown period to also carry out other maintenance and repair work planned for 2021,” Sandvik added. “This includes both ongoing maintenance and maintenance planned in a planned turnaround next spring.”
Equinor, Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority and the police have launched independent investigations of the fire, the company stated.
“The fire at Hammerfest LNG was a serious incident,” concluded Grete B. Haaland, senior vice president for Equinor’s onshore facilities. “The various investigations into the incident will be important in order to identify measures that will prevent similar incidents from happening again.”
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