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Europe's Largest LNG Unit Restarts

Equinor's Hammerfest LNG unit in Norway has been restarted after a September 2020 fire took it offline, the company reported on Friday.

The unit is capable of producing 4.65 million tonnes of LNG per year, Equinor said, or 18 million cubic meters of gas per day, and will contribute to the EU's quest to decrease its reliance on Russian gas.

It is Europe's only large-scale LNG plant.

The repair work on the LNG unit has been completed, and it is in the middle of the cool-down process now. Equinor did not provide a timeframe for when the LNG would get on the tanks.

Leading up to the restart, Norway has been maxed out its existing LNG capacity and has been exporting as much as it is able to. Hammerfest's restart should help Norway to boost those exports.

Last year, Norway provided 23.6 percent of the EU's natural gas needs, while Russia supplied 43 percent. The Hammerfest plant accounts for 5 percent of Norway's total gas export capacity.

The Hammerfest LNG plant on Melkøa Island was supposed to restart last year, but has been pushed back repeatedly due to faults, tests, and the pandemic.

Gas from the offshore Snøhvit (Snow White) field in the Barents Sea, which feeds the Hammerfest LNG plant, has also been offline due to the closure.

Despite the outage due to the fire, Statistics Norway estimates the value of nat gas exported by Norway in March reached a record high in March 2022 of 11.7 billion euro—a 500% increase from March 2021. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Norway has taken great pains to answer the call from the EU for additional oil and gas supplies.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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