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Outage At Norway’s Hammerfest LNG Extended Until Saturday

The Hammerfest LNG export plant offshore Norway is expected to remain offline until Saturday, April 27, following a gas leak earlier this week, according to the latest data from gas infrastructure operator Gassco published on Friday.  

The gas treatment plant at Equinor’s Hammerfest LNG, the only large-scale LNG export plant in Europe, was taken offline on Tuesday in an unplanned outage after a gas leak prompted evacuation at the facility.

The current assessment provided by Gassco is that the LNG export plant will return online on at 1000 GMT on Saturday.

Earlier this week, Equinor said that the facility would remain offline until Friday, April 26, because of a gas leak during maintenance.

The leak has been stopped and all 54 people at the plant at the time of the incident were accounted for. Equinor is still investigating the cause of the leak and said it was too early to make an estimate about a possible delay to production resumption, the Norwegian energy major said on Tuesday.

The Hammerfest LNG plant at Melkoeya has the capacity to deliver about 6.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, enough to supply about 6.5 million European homes. Exports from Hammerfest represent about 5% of all Norwegian natural gas exports.  

Norway is now the single biggest provider of natural gas to Europe after Russia’s Gazprom cut off most of its supply to the EU after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

Gas leaks and other incidents are not uncommon for Hammerfest LNG. Last year in May, Equinor shut down the plant due to a gas leak.

Hammerfest LNG, which receives gas from the Snøhvit field operated by Equinor, was offline for a year and a half after a fire at the facility in September 2020. The plant, Europe’s only large-scale LNG export facility, resumed operations in March 2022.

The plant was again taken offline in early May 2023, due to a compressor failure, and was offline until May 19. It was also shut down for a previous leak in March 2023.


By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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