Gas Leak Prompts Evacuation of Major LNG Facility in Europe

Equinor’s Hammerfest LNG plant, situated in the northern region of Norway, underwent an evacuation on 23rd April following a gas leak incident that arose during routine maintenance, as confirmed by the company. Operations at the plant were promptly ceased upon the discovery of the leak, with all 54 individuals present at the facility accounted for.

According to a statement released by Equinor, measures were taken to halt the leak, although it remains premature to ascertain any potential setbacks in future production schedules. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries resulting from the occurrence, and authorities have assured the public that there is no perceived threat to public safety.

Local law enforcement authorities were dispatched to the site and are currently collaborating with Equinor to determine the root cause of the incident. This marks the second instance within the past year where a gas leak has disrupted operations at the facility, following a similar incident in May 2023. Last year’s leak was attributed to a malfunctioning valve within one of the plant’s cooling systems. The gas in question serves as a coolant during the liquefaction process of natural gas (LNG). Equinor promptly activated its emergency response team, coordinating efforts with local emergency services to manage the situation effectively.

Notably, the Hammerfest LNG plant stands as Europe’s sole large-scale LNG facility, situated on the island of Melkøya. With a processing capacity of 18.4 million cubic meters of gas per day, the plant plays a significant role in the region’s energy infrastructure. It is worth mentioning that the facility underwent temporary closure in September 2020 following a fire incident, necessitating extensive repairs that delayed its reopening until May 2022.

Image credit: Equinor