Norwegian oil company Equinor said Monday that its LNG plant, damaged in a fire on September 28, would be closed for up to a year for repairs.
To remind, Equinor earlier this month said it expected to resume operations at the plant that processes gas from the offshore Snohvit field in the Barents Sea on January 1, 2021.
However, surveys of the damage after the fire showed that up to 12 months might now be needed to bring the plant, located outside Hammerfest in Finnmark county, back online.
"In addition to 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 have damaged other auxiliary systems such as electrical equipment and cables in the plant," Equinor said Monday.
"It is the scope of work of this consequential damage that are considered the most extensive and the duration of the shutdown will depend on the delivery time of necessary equipment. Progress will also be affected by the current restrictions related to the Covid 19 virus," the company said.
"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 the 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.
The LNG plant receives and processes natural gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. The gas is transported via a 160 km gas pipeline to the onshore facility.
At the onshore facility at Hammerfest LNG, condensate, water and CO2 are separated from the well stream before the natural gas is cooled down to a liquid form (LNG) and stored in tanks. The gas is subsequently exported in LNG carriers.