Hammerfest leak investigated

January 8, 2014

Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority is investigating a "substantial" gas leak that saw production at Statoil’s Hammerfest LNG plant halted at the weekend.

Statoil shut down the plant on Melkøya, northern Norway, on Sunday, January 5, because of a leak in the processing facility.

Then on start-up, a condensation leak occured during the plant run up.

"We started run-up of the Hammerfest LNG plant Tuesday night, and the plant has now reached stable operation,” Knut Gjertsen, head of Snøhvit operations said. “All necessary repairs on the plant have been completed to ensure a safe and efficient start-up.”

The PSA said: "Preliminary information from Statoil suggests that the escape of gas was substantial. The leak rate and volume are not known at present.

"The leak site was identified as a pump in the process plant. After a detailed assessment, it was resolved to resume production via a different pump. That led to a condensate leak from a heat exchanger, which was quickly closed off.

"The PSA takes a serious view of these incidents, and has now decided to investigate them. Its investigation will seek in part to clarify the course of events and to identify the direct and underlying causes."

The Snøhvit LNG plant has been shut down in the past, following its start up in September 2007. The Melkøya plant receives gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea, with Statoil's share of production amounting to about 48,000 boe/d.

The company said it is continuing to investigate this incident.



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