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Cooling tower ready to depart

April 28, 2005, 14:30 CEST

The cooling tower for Statoil’s Hammerfest LNG plant at Melkøya in northern Norway is ready to be shipped from the Churchill Dock in the Belgian port of Antwerp.

This structure forms the heart of the process which will liquefy natural gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea by cooling it down to -163°C.

The Hammerfest LNG plant is the northernmost facility of its kind in the world, and the only one in Europe.

Gas liquefaction technology has made it possible to develop Snøhvit while also opening new markets for Norwegian gas because much of the output from the field has been sold to the USA.

“Snøhvit represents the first development in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea,” says Egil Gjesteland, senior vice president for the Tromsø Patch cluster.

“The threshold for new projects has thereby been lowered. Although our attention is currently focused on completing Snøhvit, we’re also working to find more gas so that we can make optimum use of the plant once it’s started up.”

Known as the mixed fluid cascade process, the gas liquefaction technology at the Hammerfest LNG plant has been developed by Statoil in cooperation with Germany’s Linde engineering company.

Standing 65 metres tall, the cooling tower will be the highest module shipped to Melkøya as a fully-assembled unit.

Special transporters with a total of 576 wheels moved it over the 400 metres to the quayside in Antwerp.

The route was first levelled with sand and a layer of steel plates to ensure that the structure, which weighs just over 2,625 tonnes, had the smoothest-possible travelling surface.