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Norway regulator investigates Equinor LNG plant outage

01 April 2019

The Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), Norway’s oil regulator, said on March 29 it was investigating the causes of an outage earlier in the month at Equinor’s Melkøya LNG plant near Hammerfest in the far north of the country. Equinor shut down the plant on 11 March 2019 in order to repair deficiencies in a number of safety valves.

Equinor's Melkoya plant - Image: Shutterstock
Equinor's Melkoya plant - Image: Shutterstock

PSA said a total of 190 safety valves were missing heating cables and insulation meaning the facility had been operated over time with weaknesses in its safety-critical equipment. Earlier surveys conducted by the company had identified the condition of these valves, without their weaknesses being corrected.

An Equinor spokesman said the repair work was carried out after a recent evaluation showed a higher safety risk level compared to previous evaluations. He said the plant had since been restarted.

The Melkøya plant processes natural gas produced from Equinor’s Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea, the first major development on the Norwegian continental shelf with no surface installations. Other partners in the field are Petoro, Total, Neptune Energy and DEA.

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