Fire extinguished in Equinor facility on Tjeldbergodden, police say

Fire extinguished in Equinor facility on Tjeldbergodden, police say
Fire extinguished in Equinor facility on Tjeldbergodden, police say

Equinor started a full evacuation when a fire broke out in a compressor building at Tjeldbergodden on Wednesday. No people were injured, but the company promises an investigation.

An Equinor plant at Tjeldbergodden in Aure municipality started burning on Wednesday afternoon. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished after an hour. Photo: Øyvind Kvammen / NTB

2. of. 2020 15:16

Last updated 15 minutes ago

The fire was reported at 14.40. It took about an hour to turn it off.

Heavy smoke was reported in a compressor building at the methanol factory at Tjeldbergodden, and the emergency services moved out.

According to operations manager Tove Anita Asp at the police in Møre og Romsdal, there was no danger of explosion or spread while the fire was going on.

Frode Alfheim, leader of the LO union Industri Energi, calls the fire a very serious incident.

Fortunately, no one was injured. Now we must get to the bottom of what has happened, so that this can never happen again. Security is the most important thing, says Alfheim.

All accounted for

The compressor building where the fire started is three storeys high, Eek states.

– There were no personnel inside the building when the fire was reported. The personnel at the facility were quickly accounted for in connection with the evacuation, and no one was reported physically injured, he says.

According to press spokesperson Morten Eek in Equinor, it is too early to say anything about the extent of the damage. It is also not clear what is the cause of the fire.

– This will now be investigated further, he says.

Until further notice, all facilities at the methanol factory and the air gas factory at Tjeldbergodden have been closed down. Extinguishing took place on site throughout the afternoon on Wednesday.

Three factories

The industrial plant at Tjeldbergodden consists of three factories: a methanol plant, a gas reception plant and an air gas plant.

The plant was officially opened on 5 June 1997. The methanol plant is the largest in Europe and has a production capacity of 900,000 tonnes of methanol per year.

Tjeldbergodden accounts for about 25 percent of Europe’s methanol production.

Equinor owns 82.01 percent of the factory, while ConocoPhillips Scandinavia has an ownership share of 17.99 percent, according to Equinor’s website.

Also in 2018, a fire broke out at the industrial plant at Tjeldbergodden.

Bellona sees context

On 28 September this year, a fire also broke out in one of the five gas turbines at Equinor’s plant on Melkøya outside Hammerfest. The plant, which is now closed until 1 October next year, produces liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Snøhvit field.

The environmental foundation Bellona claims in a press release that significant savings have been made in maintenance both on Melkøya and on Tjeldbergodden.

– When such incidents occur close to each other, it indicates a systemic problem in Equinor. An investigation must be made into the way Equinor carries out maintenance, says Bellona CEO Frederic Hauge.

Equinor, for its part, believes that it is too early to draw such conclusions.

Incidents are always thoroughly investigated to identify causal factors. It happens in this case as well, says Eek to NTB.

– There is an ongoing investigation on Melkøya, and also the fire on Tjeldbergodden will be investigated, he says.

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