Norway’s state-controlled Equinor has extended the closure of its 4.2mn t/yr Hammerfest LNG export facility for a third time, after a fire forced the plant to cease operations on September 28, 2020.

The six-month extension of the plant’s shutdown will potentially result in a loss of a further 2.1m t of LNG, or around 35 cargoes, assuming Hammerfest operates at nameplate capacity and a cargo size of 60,000t.

The facility’s expected start-up date is now postponed to March 31, 2022, Equinor said. The deadline for the resumption of operations had already been extended twice to January 1, 2021 and then to October 1, 2021.

The firm cited the comprehensive scope of work required to repair damages and COVID-19-related restrictions as reasons for the delay. The new deadline in March is based on current knowledge, “even though there is still some uncertainty related to the scope of work”, said Grete B Haaland, Equinor’s senior vice president for onshore plants.

More than 70,000 unique equipment components may have been potentially exposed to seawater during firefighting operations, Equinor said. Investigations are still ongoing, and the firm will revert to findings and conclusions when completed.

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27th April 2021