Photo: The Hammerfest LNG plant (Øivind Haug / Equinor ASA)

Equinor starts investigation into the Hammerfest fire accident

After the recent fire at Hammerfest LNG, Equinor has started an internal investigation into the fire while also following up the incident towards employees and the local community.

As stated, the company is also looking into findings pointed out by the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) in a recent inspection.

“The incident at Hammerfest LNG (HLNG) this week was serious. We are very grateful for the efforts of local emergency services and for the work Equinor’s own emergency response organization in putting the fire out,” said Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of Marketing, Midstream and Processing at Equinor.

Officials also added that both the PSA and Equinor are investigating the incident to clarify the course of events and to find triggering and underlying causes and the police is also investigating the incident.

Equinor had before the date of the fire initiated an investigation of a gas leak that occurred around two weeks ago. Although there is no indication of a connection, Equinor will also investigate if the fire can in any way be related to the leak. In addition, the investigation will seek to clarify if the power outage in Hammerfest on 28 September was related to the fire.

“Equinors’ and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway’s investigation will be important in identifying measures that will prevent similar incidents from happening again. We will support the investigation and the police investigation where there is a need for it,” added Rummelhoff.

Equinor has established a separate project that will assess the condition of the plant and take measures to ensure a safe start-up in due course.

In the week before the incident, the PSA carried out an inspection of electric systems and major accident preparedness at the facility, and on Thursday 24 September they verbally shared a first summary.

Here, the PSA informed that they had observed that some items had not been satisfactorily followed up by Equinor since the same type of audit was last carried out in 2017, and that incorrect registrations have been made in the system which is used for following this up.

“Equinor takes the PSA’s feedback seriously and has already started examining the basis for the findings to address pending items while we wait for the PSA’s final report from the inspection. We will also evaluate whether the findings are isolated cases or if there is a need to address routines and systems,” concluded Rummelhoff.