The world's northernmost natural gas liquefaction plant, Hammerfest LNG on the island Melkøya, 800km north of the Arctic Circle near Hammerfest in Norway, has successfully loaded its 100th tanker with LNG.

The plant had started commercial production by beginning 2008 and produces now with a performance of up to 104% of its design capacity.

A performance test will be carried out after the turnaround in Q2 2011, in order to finally verify plant performance. On the occasion of the 100th loading of an LNG tanker, Linde Engineering as general contractor and technology supplier made a positive assessment of the project.

Dr. Aldo Belloni, board member of Linde AG, drew his attention to the future of the LNG business, $quot;With the successful development and realisation of this LNG technology in a large plant scale Linde has established its universally applicable, European technology alternative in the LNG market. Melkøya is for us, from both a technical and a strategic view, a valuable reference project.$quot;

The plant is a unique technology project of the European natural gas industry and EPC industry. The LNG base load plant with a capacity of 4.3 million tons of LNG per year is based on a liquefaction process jointly developed by Statoil and Linde, optimised for the arctic conditions and so called the Mixed Fluid Cascade (MFC®).

With the successful commercialisation of this process and Linde's complementary process solutions for warm climate zones, for the first time a proven European LNG technology is available for the growing LNG market. This process, designed especially for large train capacities, is the only serious alternative to the two-up to now dominating American technologies for large-scale plants.

Hammerfest LNG combines multiple innovative, energy efficient and pioneering elements. Due to limited plot space available and difficult construction conditions, the plant was designed very compact and modular. The heart of the plant is the floating central process module with a weight of 35,000 tons. This largest ever built LNG plant module was pre-fabricated in a Spanish yard and transported 2.700 nautical miles to the island Melkøya.

Moreover, Hammerfest LNG uses for the first time an efficient and direct sea water cooling system which is suitable for arctic whether conditions.