December 21, 2018 / 10:30 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Equinor can't meet methanol deliveries after fire at plant

(Adds details, background)

By Lefteris Karagiannopoulos

OSLO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Norway’s Equinor said on Friday it will not be able to meet its immediate methanol deliveries as its Tjeldbergodden plant remains closed following a fire.

Staff were evacuated from the site, Europe’s biggest methanol plant, after an explosion on Wednesday caused the fire.

Equinor has yet to establish the cause of the explosion, which happened in one of the plant’s high-voltage rooms. An investigation is ongoing.

“The plant will be shut down for a period of time,” said a company spokeswoman on Friday. She declined to say how long it would be closed for, saying time was needed for the investigation and repair work.

The plant accounts for more than 25 percent of Europe’s production of methanol and has an annual capacity of around 900,000 tonnes, according to Equinor data.

Tjeldbergodden takes natural gas from the offshore Heidrun field via the 250-km Haltenpipe pipeline. Production at the field was not affected by as the field’s gas was rerouted elsewhere.

The methanol plant is owned by Equinor and ConocoPhillips . A gas terminal at Tjeldbergodden was also shut while the methanol plant is not operating. The terminal is owned by Equinor, Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro and oil firms ConocoPhillips and Eni. (Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, editing by Gwladys Fouche and Susan Fenton)

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