Monday, July 4

Norway’s Hammerfest LNG plant extends outage until May 27

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OSLO — Norway’s Hammerfest LNG plant is now expected to restart on May 27, four days later than the previous plan and further delaying operations since a fire in 2020, Norwegian gas system manager Gassco said on Sunday.

It was the second postponement of production in less than a week. The plant, which is operated by Equinor, had previously been expected to restart on May 23.

Europe’s only large-scale LNG plant, at Melkoeya island just outside the Arctic town of Hammerfest, can process 18 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day when fully operational.

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Restarting operations would be welcome news for Europe, which is scrambling to find alternatives to Russian gas supplies in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The LNG plant represents around 5% of Norway’s overall gas export capacity.

On May 16, Equinor said a minor fault had been discovered on a compressor, which had to be replaced, and that the plant’s restart would thus be postponed to May 23 from May 17.

It was not clear what caused the postponement.

Equinor did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Sunday.

At Melkoeya, gas is piped in from the offshore Snoehvit field, 160 km (100 miles) away in the Barents Sea. The field was forced to shut as a result of the plant’s closure.

In January, Equinor said more than 22,000 components had undergone checks since the fire, and that 180 km of electrical cables had been replaced.

The partnership includes Equinor, Norway’s Petoro, TotalEnergies, Neptune Energy and Wintershall Dea. (Reporting by Nora Buli and Terje Solsvik; Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Daniel Wallis)