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.

It was the second suspension in less than a week. On May 16, operator Equiner stated that a minor defect had been discovered in a compressor that needed to be replaced and that a restart would be delayed until May 23.

There were additional delays due to some final tests, the agency said.

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A spokesman for Equinox told Reuters on Sunday that “a few final tests are left on the compressor.”

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.

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.

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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