Equinor says leak at Hammerfest LNG plant stopped

(Reuters) - A gas leak at Norway's Hammerfest liquefied natural gas plant has been stopped and normalization is underway, but it is too soon to say when production will resume, Equinor said on Wednesday.

"The leak occurred in connection with a valve in one of the plant’s cooling circuits. The gas that leaked is used for cooling during production of LNG," the company said.

The plant was shut down after the leak, a spokesperson for operator Equinor said, confirming an earlier police report.

"There were 98 people present at the factory when the incident occurred. All personnel are accounted for and no injuries were reported," the company added.

Europe's only large-scale LNG plant, at Melkoeya island just outside the Arctic town of Hammerfest, can process 18.4 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day when fully operational, just over 5% of Norway's gas export capacity.

At Melkoeya, gas is piped in from the offshore Snoehvit field, 160 km (100 miles) away in the Barents Sea.

The Hammerfest LNG partnership includes Equinor, Petoro, TotalEnergies, Neptune Energy and Wintershall Dea.

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