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Report on hydrocarbon leak at Hammerfest LNG

The hydrocarbon leak at the Hammerfest LNG facility in northern Norway on 5 January 2014 had a big accident potential and could have led to loss of life, according to the PSA’s investigation.


This incident occurred during the evening, when the process plant on Melkøya outside Hammerfest was in normal operation.

The leak rate is estimated at 0.1-0.3 kilograms per second and the quantity of natural gas which escaped has been put at 250-750 kilograms.

Investigation
The PSA resolved on 7 January 2014 to implement its own investigation of the incident.

This concluded that the leak occurred through the stuffing box of pump 25-PA-102B. Wear was observed on one of the gaskets in the stuffing box, but its underlying causes were not identified.

Actual consequences
The incident did not cause personal injuries or material damage. Production at Hammerfest LNG was shut down for three days.

Potential consequences
Had the hydrocarbon leak ignited, an explosion would have resulted which could have caused two fatalities. One person was in the immediate vicinity of the leak and another out in the plant could have affected.

An explosion would also have caused damage to equipment and structures, and a lengthy shutdown of the plant.

Nonconformity
The investigation identified one nonconformity. This related to the time which elapsed between the sounding of the alarm and the start of pressure blowdown.

Øyvind Midttun, Press contact
Email: oyvind.midttun@ptil.no | +47 51 87 34 77