Fire breaks out at Hammerfest LNG plant
No injuries are reported, but the police have closed off the tunnel to the Melkøya island outside Hammerfest where Equinor’s liquid natural gas (LNG) plant is located. Restrictions also apply for the air space in a five-kilometer radius around the plant, local emergency services informs.
The fire in a turbine broke out at 15.30 on Monday, according to a statement by Equinor. afternoon and by 18.00 most of the black smoke hanging over the plant where gone and no open flames were visible.
#Hammerfest. Nødetatene er på Melkøya i forbindelse med brann i produksjonsanleggene. Det er bekreftet brann med fare for spredning. Alt av personell på området er evakuert. Oppdateres.— Politiet i Finnmark (@politifinnmark) September 28, 2020
The LNG plant was shut down in accordance with emergency routines, the company informs.
Fire crew spray water on the plant from boats on the water and from shore. Also, other parts of the plant, not visibly harmed by the fire, is sprayed with water, likely to avoid overheating at other vital parts containing highly flammable natural gas.
The police first said there is a risk of the fire being spread, but wrote in an update tweet early evening that the danger of fire spreading is reduced.
Hammerfest LNG started production in 2007 and process gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. The LNG is then shipped to markets in Europe and Asia.
The plant was shut down on September 11 after an outage and was restarted just a few hours before the fire broke out.
Many gas leaks are reported during the 13 years of operation, and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has several times criticized Equinor (formerly Statoil) for the plant’s technical systems and safety procedures.