Violations found at Equinor gas plant

Bookmark and Share

Norway’s state oil company Equinor was subjected to yet another grilling this week. State petroleum authority PTIL released the results of its investigation into a major fire at Equinor’s gas plant on the island of Melkøya in Hammerfest, and they uncovered several violations and irregularities.

The dramatic fire last year threatened the city just across the water from the Melkøya. The plant that processes gas from the also-troubled offshore Snøvhit facility around 90 kilometers to the northwest remains closed.

Equinor was once again accused of poor maintenance, with PTIL citing how filters on gas turbines where the fire started hadn’t been replaced since 2015. They’d been advised to replace them in 2019 after a gas leak.

State authorities expressed deep concern over Equinor’s lack of maintenance at the plant and listed deficiencies in the plant’s management, low staffing levels, risk analysis and preparedness for accidents. “We have seen this in several examinations of Equinor,” stated PTIL director Anne Myrvold.

Equinor has suffered several accidents in addition to last year’s scandal over huge losses at its operations in the US. PTIL has sharply criticized the company, Norway’s largest, on multiple occasions and its new chief executive, Anders Opedal, admitted in an interview with news service E24 that maintenance and security hasn’t been good enough. Frederic Hauge of environmental organization Bellona claimed that Opedal’s credibility had declined to “the zero point.” The company is, however, expected to report strong earnings for the first quarter next week, fueled mostly by the rise in oil prices. staff