Gas leak forced refinery evacuation

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More than 300 people were evacuated on Tuesday from Norway’s biggest oil refinery at Mongstad on the west coast, after Statoil officials discovered a gas leak. The leak was quickly stopped and operations were back to normal by 3pm.

Emissions from plants like this one at Mongstad need to be reduced if Norway is to meet its climate goals. PHOTO: Statoil/Helge Hansen

Statoil’s refinery at Mongstad is the biggest in Norway. PHOTO: Statoil/Helge Hansen

The leak was discovered around 12:45pm and a Statoil spokesman said that “any leak of gas into the air at a refinery is serious. Therefore we have a low threshold for an evacuation.”

A total of 317 persons were evacuated but readmitted within two hours. “Now we need to find out the reason for the leak,” Morten Eek of Statoil told NRK.no.

He said production was unaffected by the leak. Statoil’s large Mongstad complex in Nordhordland encompasses an oil refinery, a crude oil terminal and the world’s largest technology center for handling carbon emissions. The refinery can handle around 12 million tons of crude oil a year.

newsinenglish.no staff