Norway’s Hammerfest LNG plant extends disruption until May 27

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OSLO – Norway’s Hammerfest LNG plant is now expected to reopen on May 27, four days after the previous plan and after a fire in 2020, further delays in operations, Norwegian Gas Systems Manager Gasco said on Sunday.

This was the second suspension of production in less than a week. The plant, operated by Equinor, was previously expected to reopen on May 23.

Europe’s only large LNG plant, on Melcoa Island, just outside of the Arctic city of Hammerfest, could process 18 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day when fully operational.

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In the wake of the war in Ukraine, the resumption of activities for Europe, which has been rushing to find alternatives to Russian gas supplies, would be welcomed.

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

On May 16, Equiner stated that a minor defect had been discovered in a compressor that needed to be replaced and that the restart of the plant would thus be suspended from May 17 to May 23.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

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

In Melkoa, gas is piped from the offshore Snowheet field, 160 km (100 miles) into the Barents Sea. The closure of the plant forced the field to close.

In January, Equiner said more than 22,000 components had been tested since the fire and 180 kilometers of electrical wiring had been replaced.

Partnerships include Equinor, Norway’s Petoro, Total Energy, Neptune Energy and Wintershall D. (Reporting by Nora Bully and Terje Solsvik; Editing by Gladys Fuchs and Daniel Wallis)

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