Norway’s Hammerfest LNG sends out its first tanker in 20 months to an energy hungry Europe

The LNG project is up and running for the first time since a fire in September 2020 forced it to close for repairs.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - June 7, 2022

The LNG tanker Arctic Voyager shining under the Midnight Sun outside Hammerfest, in northern Norway. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

Norway’s Hammerfest LNG project has resumed production and the tanker Arctic Voyager is first in line to bring liquefied natural gas, the equivalent to 1 TW of energy, to markets in Europe striving to achieve full independence from Russian supplies.

Norway’s role as a stable and predictable supplier of natural gas to Europe is pushed forward by Russia’s war on Ukraine and political pressure on EU member states. As country by country switch away or are cut off from Russian supplies, Norway’s gas export is set to rise by 8 percent in 2022.

This week, the first load of LNG in 20 months sails out from Hammerfest LNG on the coast to the Barents Sea.

“This is of great significance in a period when predictable and reliable supplies are highly important to many countries and customers,” said Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of Equinor.

Equinor brought the plant at Melkøya outside Hammerfest in northernmost Norway back online last week, after a fire in September 2020 forced a complete shutdown and challenging repairs.

Hammerfest LNG accounts for more than 5 percent of Norwegian gas export and is the only plant that can deliver gas by tankers instead of pipelines to Europe

The Arctic Voyager has a capacity to carry about 140,000 cubic meters of LNG. That is equivalent to 1 TW of energy and takes about five days to produce at the plant outside Hammerfest. Right now, three other huge LNG tankers are waiting on the coast; the Arctic Lady, Arctic Princess and Arctic Aurora.