The third LNG cargo dispatched since the planned maintenance shutdown last autumn left Melkøya January 4. Production from Snøhvit resumed one week before Christmas, and the LNG vessels are back in regular operation.
The plant was closed for a four month period for upgrading and maintenance. The maintenance shutdown was completed in early November, but start-up was delayed by problems affecting the facility’s large electrical motors, which form a central part of the refrigeration process. The defective motor has now been replaced by a reserve unit that was in store at Polarbase in Hammerfest.
“These have been demanding months for all involved at Melkøya. Hammerfest LNG is a highly advanced facility where huge efforts have been made to solve complex technical problems,” said senior vice president of production Knut Henrik Dalland, who adds that the plant’s total capacity will now be verified in a performance trial in the new year.
At peak production an LNG tanker will depart from Melkøya every five or six days, with each vessel transporting almost 150,000 cubic metres of LNG to customers worldwide.
Snøhvit is the first development in the Barents Sea and the world’s northernmost LNG facility.