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    Equinor Launches Probe into Hammerfest LNG Fire


It is too early to say when the LNG export plant will resume operations, Equinor said.

by: Joe Murphy

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Equinor Launches Probe into Hammerfest LNG Fire

Norway's Equinor has launched an internal probe into a fire that took place at its 5.6mn metric ton/year Hammerfest LNG plant on Melkoya island, it said on October 2. 

Equinor reported on September 28 that a fire had broken out at a turbine at the facility, resulting in its shutdown. There were no injuries. It discovered the fire at 15.40 local time and told the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) that it had been extinguished at 21.30.

Equinor will investigate whether there is any relation between the fire and a gas leak discovered a few weeks earlier, although at this stage there is no indication of a connection. The company will also seek to determine whether there was any connection with a power outage in Hammerfest on September 28.

The investigations by Equinor and the PSA are key to identifying measures that will prevent similar incidents from happening again, the company said.

"We are now working to map the extent of damages after the fire and will then thoroughly review the technical integrity of the facility," Equinor said. "Safety comes first, and we will use the time we need to ensure a safe start-up. It is still too early to say when the operations can resume."

A week before the fire the PSA inspected electric systems and major accident preparation measures at the facility, finding that some items had not been satisfactorily followed up by Equinor since a previous inspection was carried out in 2017, the company said. Several incorrect registrations had been made in the system used for following this up, it added. The PSA told NGW that generally it took a very critical view of such failures to respond. It is still investigating the fire, acting in an advisory role for the police investigation.

"Equinor takes the PSA’s feedback seriously and has already started examining the basis for the findings to address pending items while we wait for the PSA’s final report from the inspection," the company said. "We will also evaluate whether the findings are isolated cases or if there is a need to address routines and systems."