StatoilHydro has announced its Hammerfest LNG plant will be shut down on 15th August 2009 for as long as 3 months.

The plant, located on Melkoya Island in northern Norway, is being shut down for upgrading and modification work in order to maintain a high production level in the future.

Since start-up in the autumn of 2007, upgrading and replacement of equipment has been carried out to increase the plant's production level.

From February this year the plant has produced at approximately full capacity; to secure this level, the plant has to be made more robust.
$quot;We estimate about 510,000 labour-hours in connection with the stoppage, including preparations and the finishing process,$quot; says Geir Hopland, turnaround manager at Hammerfest LNG.

One of the big operations will be replacing 15 heat exchangers. These are the very core of the process which cools the Snohvit gas into a liquid state, forming liquefied natural gas (LNG).

During the shutdown – and before the mechanical work can begin – all gas must be removed from the plant. Some flaring will therefore take place during the first day of the stoppage.

Up to 850 people will stay at the Melkoya work camp during the turnaround, and Hammerfest LNG will resume production in November.