Norway’s oil and gas safety watchdog has launched an investigation into a fire at an Equinor-operated refinery over the weekend.
At around 5.45am on July 3, an ignited hydrocarbon leak was discovered in the process area at the Mongstad oil terminal, around 30 miles north of Bergen.
Equinor (OSLO: EQNR) evacuated the plant, apart from critical personnel handling operations and emergency response.
Nobody was injured in the blaze, which was extinguished that same morning.
The Norwegian energy giant carried out a controlled burning of trapped hydrocarbons through pressure relief.
While the main Mongstad plant was still able to operate safely, parts of the facility involved in production of some refined products are affected.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Equinor said: “Equinor has clear priorities in emergency response situations. Our first priority is to care for the people involved in the situation, followed by the environment and our surroundings, and then the technical integrity of our plant and our industrial interests.
“The cause of the fire is not yet clear. Equinor will cooperate with the authorities in uncovering the cause of the incident.”
The Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) Norway has now launched its own investigation to try to establish the cause of the fire.
In doing so it aims to “identify causes and relationships”, and to share any lessons learnt with the operator and the industry.
In conducting its enquiry, the PSA said it will:
- clarify the course of events and the scope of the incident
- assess harm caused to people, material assets and/or the environment
- assess the potential consequences of the fire
- assess direct and underlying causes of the incident
- assess lessons learnt and experience transferred by the plant after earlier incidents
- assess relevant recent reviews conducted by Equinor at the Mongstad plant
- identify nonconformities and improvement points related to the regulations
- apply necessary enforcement powers to correct possible regulatory breaches
- make public its finding
- contribute to experience transfer to and learning by other players in the petroleum sector.
A report summing up the findings of the investigation will be published online in due course.