A liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant located on Melkøya island, off the Arctic town of Hammerfest, Norway, is due to restart production within a week following a period of downtime due to a fire that caused extensive damage in September 2020.

The fire, although isolated to the air intake of one of the plant’s five big gas turbines, caused substantial damage to the plant. 

More than 70,000 unique equipment components were potentially exposed to seawater during the firefighting and 180km of cable has had to be replaced. 

Having been delayed several times over the past two years, Equinor – on behalf of the operating partnership - revealed that the start-up of Hammerfest LNG had been scheduled for May 17th, 2022. 

Melkøya island

Melkøya island

Source: Equinor

“Hammerfest LNG has been prepared for production, but we are taking the extra time necessary to safely resume operations,” said Grete B. Haaland, Senior Vice President, Onshore Facilities, Equinor. 

Restarting may have also been hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in the partners introducing measures that allowed them to have fewer workers on site at the same time. 

Following the discovery of a minor fault on a compressor during the weekend, Equinor has stated that it is currently being replaced and that the stepwise process towards operations continues through the week.