Equinor Wraps Up Hammerfest LNG Leak Repair, Maintains Friday Restart

Hammerfest LNG plant (Credit: Equinor)
Hammerfest LNG plant (Credit: Equinor)

A gas leak that triggered an evacuation at Equinor's Hammerfest liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant has been repaired, but the facility still remains shut until Friday, the Norwegian energy group said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred during a short maintenance outage on Tuesday for an annual equipment test, which was initially scheduled to last less than one day, an Equinor spokesperson said.

Outages of less than 24 hours did not require a notification under the REMIT transparency rules, she added.

"There were no problems at the facility before the leak occurred," the spokesperson said.

The restart is now planned for Friday, she confirmed.

Equinor posted a market message late on Tuesday to show the plant would be offline until 10.00 GMT on Friday. It initially cited a gas turbine failure but later changed the reason to "process problems".

The Cool Runner LNG tanker, which had been docked at Hammerfest, left the terminal early on Tuesday but remains in the vicinity, LSEG ship-tracking data showed, indicating it may return to the plant.

Equinor's spokesperson declined to comment on details of ship arrivals and loading operations.

Hammerfest LNG, also known as Melkoeya, has capacity to deliver about 6.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year, enough to supply about 6.5 million European homes, and accounts for 5% of all Norwegian gas exports.

Norway is Europe's largest supplier of natural gas after a sharp reduction in Russian deliveries since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2022.

The Melkoeya plant receives its gas via a pipeline from the Snoehvit offshore gas field. Its owners are Equinor, Petoro, TotalEnergies TTEF.PA, Vaar Energi VAR.OL and Wintershall Dea.

(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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