Photo: Courtesy of JAPEX

JAPEX suspends operation at Soma LNG after earthquake

Japan Petroleum Exploration (JAPEX) has suspended Soma LNG terminal activities for safety confirmation, after the earthquake off the coast of Fukushima.

JAPEX suspends operation at Soma LNG after earthquake
Courtesy of JAPEX

JAPEX announced damage and response to the earthquake that struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture on 16 March 2022.

The company’s ten domestic oil and gas fields are continuing the normal production operations. The domestic gas pipeline network also operates and supplies natural gas after the earthquake as usual.

However, the company suspended the operation of Soma LNG terminal facilities for safety confirmation. The blackout occurred due to the earthquake. Therefore, the electricity required for safety is now provided by an emergency electricity generator. After confirming the facility’s safe operations, the power supply will switch to external power.

Since the terminal is currently under detailed assessment, the time of operation resumption is yet undetermined.

JAPEX also said there was no damage, such as gas leakage from the terminal. Due to the suspension of supply operations immediately, BOG (boil-off gas), the vaporized gas from LNG stored in the LNG storage tanks, is being burned as a measure to release the gas safely.

By taking these measures, flames are emitted from the flare stack, but there are no safety issues at the terminal or the surrounding area.

The company automatically shut down power generation facilities after the earthquake and they are still inactive.

With the suspension of operations at the Soma LNG terminal, the supply of LNG regasified gas used as fuel for power generation has also been suspended. The company has not yet determined the resumption of the power plant operation.

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JAPEX said it will continue to confirm the status of the suspended facilities and their resumption of operation. However, it might take some time.