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Safety watchdog says Norway LNG leak could have resulted in serious explosion

16 May 2014

A leak at Statoil's liquefied natural gas plant at Melkøya in the Norwegian Arctic in January 2014 could have caused an explosion, killing workers and seriously damaging the facility, the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway (PSA) said on May 14. "Had the hydrocarbon leak ignited, an explosion would have resulted that could have caused two fatalities," the safety watchdog said. 

The LNG plant at Melkøya - Photo: Statoil
The LNG plant at Melkøya - Photo: Statoil

The report said an explosion would also have caused damage to equipment and structures and a lengthy shutdown of the plant.

The four-month investigation also concluded that Statoil took too long to reduce pressure in the LNG unit as 12 minutes passed between the sounding of the alarm and the decision to depressurize.

The facility, which is situated on an island near the town of Hammerfest, was shut for three days and up to 750 kg of gas escaped, the PSA said.

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