Energy major Equinor’s Hammerfest liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Norway could remain closed until October next year as repairs are carried out following a fire on 28 September.

Equinor noted that surveys of the damage last month indicated that it could take up to 12 months for repairs.

Damages caused by the fire on the air intake on one of the LNG plant’s five power turbines, alongside large amounts of seawater from the extinguishing process, have also damaged other auxiliary systems in the plant.

Equinor plant director Andreas Sandvik said: “Safety is the first priority and we will not start the plant until we are sure that it can be done in a safe way. Therefore, we have worked systematically and thoroughly to survey the damage after the fire and assess the technical condition of the plant.

“Although a lot of inspection work still remains and there is still significant uncertainty, our best estimate now is that that it may take up until 1 October 2021 to get Hammerfest LNG back into production.

“We will use the shutdown period to also carry out other maintenance and repair work planned for 2021. This includes both ongoing maintenance and maintenance planned in a planned turnaround next spring.”

According to Equinor, progress of repair works will also be affected by coronavirus-related restrictions.

Hammerfest LNG was previously scheduled to reopen next January, Reuters reported.

Equinor noted that the Norwegian police and the country’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) began independent investigations of the fire.

Equinor onshore facilities senior vice-president Grete B Haaland said: “The fire at Hammerfest LNG was a serious incident. The various investigations into the incident will be important in order to identify measures that will prevent similar incidents from happening again.”