Gas leak from Equinor at Melkøya stopped

Snowwhite Melkøya gas leakThe LNG facility at Melkøya, Hammerfest processes gas from the Snowwhite field in the Barents Sea. Photo: Equinor

Gas leak from Equinor at the Melkøya plant stopped

A gas leak at Equinor’s facility at Melkøya in Hammerfest, Finnmark was located on Sunday morning and stopped without drama.


The police were notified of the leak from Equinor (Statoil) at 10.26 pm on Saturday. The leak was located high up in a cooling tower at the plant some 8 hours later, at 6 am on Sunday.

-It was a fan valve that was leaking. This was detected by the gas detectors at the facility. Everything has worked as it should, says Operations Manager in the Finnmark Police District, Jan Arne Pettersen, to NTB.

There was never talk of evacuation of settlement or workers at Melkøya in connection with the gas leak.

At the facility at Melkøya, there is reception and processing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Snowwhite (Snøhvit) field in the Barents Sea, Equinor reports on its web pages.

About Melkøya

Melkøya outside Hammerfest in Finnmark county is a facility for the reception and processing of natural gas from the Snøhvit (Snowwhite) field in the Barents Sea.

The gas is sent to a 160 km long gas pipeline for the plant, which was opened in autumn 2007.

Statoil was the operator for the development and is the operator for the plant under its new name, Equinor.

At the facility at Melkøya, condensate, water and CO2 are separated from the wellstream before the natural gas is cooled to liquid form (LNG = liquefied natural gas) and stored in dedicated tanks.

The pipe has a capacity of 7.6 million Sm3 per year.  CO2 separated from natural gas and returned to the Snøhvit field, where it is injected into a separate formation under the reservoirs. The gas is then exported in custom built LNG ships.

Snøhvit is the first development in the Barents Sea and the first major development on the NCS without installations on the surface. Large amounts of natural gas are brought onshore and cooled down at the northernmost export plant for LNG in the world (first of its kind in Europe).

There are no telltale signs of either a platform or production ship in the Barents Sea which shows where the field is located. The production facility is located on the seabed, between 250 and 345 metres below the sea level.

The subsea installations are designed to be trawlable so that neither installations nor fishing equipment will be damaged. In total, 20 wells will be drilled to produce the gas in the three reservoirs Snøhvit, Askeladd (Ash Lad) and Albatross.

Construction of a compression plant on land can increase the recovery rate for the Snøhvit field from 45 to 70 per cent of the available resources.

In practical terms, that means that several billions worth of gas can be extracted from below the seabed off the Finnmark coast.


© Equinor / NTB scanpix / #Norway Today