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Equinor’s Melkøya LNG plant to be closed for up to a year after fire in September

27 October 2020

Surveys of the damage caused by the fire at the Melkøya LNG plant in Norway on September 28 have indicated that the facility will be closed for up to 12 months for repairs, Equinor said in a statement on October 26.

The Hammerfest LNG plant - Photo: Helge Hansen / Equinor ASA
The Hammerfest LNG plant - Photo: Helge Hansen / Equinor ASA

The energy giant said that in addition to the damage caused by the fire on the air intake on one of the plant's five power turbines, large amounts of seawater from the extinguishing of the fire has damaged other auxiliary systems such as electrical equipment and cables in the plant.

It is the scope of work of this consequential damage that is considered the most extensive and the duration of the shutdown will depend on the delivery time of necessary equipment, Equinor said. Progress will also be affected by the current restrictions related to COVID-19.

"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. Therefore, we have worked systematically and thoroughly to survey the damage after the fire, and assess the technical condition of the plant," says plant director Andreas Sandvik.

"Although a lot of inspection work still remains and there is still significant uncertainty, our best estimate now is that that it may take up until 1 October 2021 to get Hammerfest LNG back into production."

"We will use the shutdown period to also carry out other maintenance and repair work planned for 2021. This includes both ongoing maintenance and maintenance planned in a planned turnaround next spring," Sandvik says.

Equinor, as well as Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) and the police, have started independent investigations of the fire.

"The fire at Hammerfest LNG was a serious incident. The various investigations into the incident will be important in order to identify measures that will prevent similar incidents from happening again," says Grete B. Haaland, Senior Vice President for Equinor's onshore facilities.

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