Equinor Fire Investigations Concluded

Oil & Gas

Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) has revealed that its internal investigations following fires at Hammerfest LNG and Tjeldbergodden have now been concluded and that the results have submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority.

The fire at Hammerfest LNG occurred in September last year, while the fire at Tjeldbergodden took place in December 2020. The investigation group noted that the Hammerfest fire, which occurred during start-up of the facility in the filter housing on gas turbine generator four, was caused by spontaneous ignition in the filters in the turbine’s air inlets, which was said to be caused by excessively high temperature over a long period of time.

Equinor outlined that the Tjeldbergodden incident occurred during a routine job, when a steam turbine failed to shut down as expected and instead increased its speed. This was said to have led to a breakdown in a coupling between the steam turbine and a gear, which resulted in heavy metal parts being flung out. One of these made a hole in a pipe carrying lube oil to the turbine generator and the lube oil ignited and caused a fire, Equinor revealed. The company said its internal investigation group concluded that the steam turbine sped up due to a fault in connection with a shut-off valve in the turbine.

“Both fires at the onshore facilities in 2020 were very serious,” Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president of marketing, midstream, and processing, said in a company statement.

“These incidents have made a deep impression on everyone who was involved or affected. The emergency response effort helped ensure that no one was injured. I want to commend the efforts and commitment exhibited by our employees, suppliers and the local communities to return the facilities to safe operation,” Rummelhoff added.

“We didn’t waste any time in taking steps to ensure that incidents like this never occur again. The findings in both investigation reports will be followed up with measures designed to reinforce and enhance the safety work at the onshore facilities and in Equinor in general,” Rummelhoff went on to say, referring to the improvement work initiated at the onshore facilities from the autumn of 2020, which includes the following:

  • 175 different departments at the onshore facilities conducted ‘time-outs for safety’ to reflect on improvement items and weak signals.
  • The “OPL Next Step” project, which involves continued work on initiatives from ‘time-out for safety’, as well as improvement areas identified following audits, investigations, and internal verifications.
  • A project to capture lessons learned and establish measures linked to underlying causes related to organization, management, and control.
  • New management training programs for more than 180 managers at the onshore facilities.
  • Analyses of the entire onshore facility organization to identify measures within the areas of capacity and competence that can strengthen safety.
  • Bolstering the recruitment of engineering resources within electrical disciplines.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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