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Production start-up at Hammerfest LNG

The Hammerfest LNG facility
The Hammerfest LNG facility
(Photo: Einar Aslaksen / Equinor ASA)

After extensive repairs and improvement work, Hammerfest LNG is back in production after the fire in September 2020. The first liquified natural gas (LNG) is now on tank at Melkøya.

Irene Rummelhoff
Irene Rummelhoff
(Photo: Arne Reidar Mortensen)

“With the start-up of Hammerfest LNG, we add further volume to the already substantial gas deliveries from Norway. This is of great significance in a period when predictable and reliable supplies are highly important to many countries and customers,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president, Marketing, Midstream and Processing.

Norway is an important gas supplier to Europe, and the volumes from Hammerfest LNG account for more than 5% of Norwegian gas exports. During normal production Hammerfest LNG delivers around 6.5 billion cubic metres per year, equivalent to the annual gas demand of 6.5 million European households.

Safety has been priority number one during the extensive work process, from the identification of the extent of damage, to the planning of repairs and improvements, and the implementation of the project. Systematic and targeted work has been performed daily by around 1 000 people, bringing the plant safely back online. A stepwise procedure has been followed in the process towards full production.

“I would like to thank all employees, suppliers and partners that have done a great job getting the plant ready for safe start-up. This is a huge and complicated task, with much of the project work during a challenging pandemic," says Rummelhoff.

Repairs of sophisticated equipment and compressors have been performed, in addition to a scheduled turnaround and ordinary maintenance. More than 22 000 components have been checked, and 180 kilometres of electric cables have been replaced. To minimise infection spreading extensive infection control measures and strict distancing rules have been implemented.

The plant is built for operation at minus 163 degrees Celsius, and a controlled and stepwise procedure is followed towards full production.

The LNG tankers Arctic Voyager, Arctic Lady and Arctic Princess are anchored up outside Melkøya, ready to receive new cargoes from Hammerfest LNG. Normally, it takes 4-5 days to fill the storage tanks at the plant, before the ships are loaded with LNG for shipping to receiving terminals in various markets. In full production, a ship will leave Melkøya approximately every five days. Each ship contains about 1 TW of energy.

The partnership includes Equinor Energy AS, Petoro AS, TotalEnergies EP Norge AS, Neptune Energy Norge AS, and Wintershall Dea Norge AS. Equinor is the operator of Hammerfest.