Fire broke out Wednesday afternoon at a Norwegian methanol plant reported to be the largest in Europe, plant owners confirmed.
Flames and heavy smoke erupted at 2:40 p.m. local time in a compressor house at Equinor’s Tjeldbergodden industrial complex in Nordmore. The complex – a methanol plant, gas receiving terminal and an air separation plant – was the first to introduce large-scale natural gas production to the country.
Controllers immediately shut down both the air separation and methanol plant. They also ordered the evacuation of all personnel. Emergency services including fire, police and health services were dispatched.
Equinor’s emergency response team extinguished the fire within an hour, the company reports.
The production capacity of the methanol plant is about 900,000 tons of methanol per year. Volumes from Tjeldbergodden account for almost 25% of total European methanol production and about 10% of consumption.
A fire at the methanol plant in December 2018 shut down production for a month.