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Gas leak forces evacuation of Europe's only large-scale LNG plant

23 April 2024

Equinor’s Hammerfest LNG plant in northern Norway was evacuated on 23 April due to a gas leak that occurred during maintenance, the company said. Production at the facility was halted after the leak was discovered while all 54 people who were at the plant at the time were accounted for.

Image: Helge Hansen / Equinor ASA
Image: Helge Hansen / Equinor ASA

Equinor said in a statement that the leak had been stopped, however it was too early to determine whether there would be a delay to future production. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident and there is not thought to be any risk to the general public.

Local police attended the scene and continue to work on finding the cause of the incident alongside Equinor. This was the second gas leak to halt production at the facility in the last year after a May 2023 incident. The gas leak last year occurred in connection with a valve in one of the plant’s cooling circuits. The gas is used for cooling during production of liquid natural gas (LNG). Equinor’s emergency response organisation was mobilised and the incident was handled in collaboration with emergency services.

The Hammerfest LNG plant is Europe's only large-scale LNG plant and is located on the island of Melkøya. The plant can process 18.4 million cubic metres of gas per day. The plant was closed in September 2020 after a fire. A series of extensive repairs meant the facility did not reopen until May 2022.

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