Where gas and data flow

A dedicated availability concept and digital tools help keep LNG flowing at the Equinor plant on Melkøya Island in Norway.
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Equinor‘s Hammerfest LNG Plant, Norway

Equinor’s LNG facility on Norway’s Melkøya Island cools natural gas from the Barents Sea to minus 160 degrees Celsius, fills it into special tanks, and delivers it to ports around the world. Amongst several other things it relies particularly on digitalization tools from Siemens to do this work.


If industrial plants fail, the consequential costs can run into the millions. To prevent this, drive train performance at the Equinor LNG plant on Melkøya Island is continuously monitored with the help of Siemens. The result is higher availability and reduced costs.


Natural gas reaches Melkøya Island via a 160-kilometer gas pipeline from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. At the island facility, water and CO2 are separated from the well stream before the natural gas is cooled down to minus 160°C and condensed to liquid form, or liquefied natural gas (LNG), and stored in dedicated tanks. In the process the separated CO2 is also cooled to a liquid and then transported back to the Snøhvit field for permanent storage beneath the seabed.


The LNG then leaves the island in custom-built ships destined for ports all over the world. After transport, it is regasified and fed into pipelines.


Demand for absolute reliability

The focus on Melkøya Island is on the liquefaction process. The high-performance compressor trains required for this have to operate reliably, above all because of the site’s remote location far inside the Arctic Circle.

The operators and service engineers are on a constant watch for optimized solutions to keep production running efficiently, such as by reducing maintenance intervals, assessing the condition of components, and quickly initiating service measures – whatever it takes to avoid surprises.
Anders Dirdal, Corporate Account Manager at Siemens

Built-in condition monitoring

The electric compressor trains have been equipped with the world’s largest Simotics high-voltage, high-speed 65 MW synchronous motors and Sinamics GL converters. This has led to a high efficiency level and high availability. Condition monitoring and data collection functions can be used to continuously monitor the electrical assets of the entire system. This data enables Equinor staff to carry out precise analyses of component performance and make fine-tuned improvements in efficiency.


Faults or failures involving of motors and converters have costly consequences. Therefore Equinor introduced a new condition monitoring system for the compressor drive train of the LNG installation in 2013. Today, the Sidrive IQ platform from Siemens can be used to monitor, analyze and optimize the compressor drive trains. Since the plant’s launch, the team had learned that to achieve maximum availability, a holistic approach encompassing the whole drive train was required – much like the strategy that winning Olympic teams implement for their athletes’ performance. Together with engineers from Siemens, additional sensors were installed on further components of the drive train and used to collect data on items such as dust flow, magnetic flux density and vibration.


With the help of this data, Siemens service specialists can provide valuable assistance and determine maintenance strategies even more precisely in advance. This makes it possible to avoid unplanned outages and reduce planned downtimes.




Product information


  • Drive Trains Availability: Downtime targeted to be reduced by up to 70 %
  • Optimized OPEX costs of Drive Trains: Maintenance costs targeted to be reduced by up to 20 %
  • Increased Productivity: Target for maintenance intervals of drive trains to be stretched from three to four years
  • Energy Efficiency and Performance: The world’s largest SIMOTICS HV High Speed Synchronous Motors with 65 MW together with SINAMICS MV converters
  • Short Return-on-Investment: Fast amortization due to future-proof, innovative data collection and analytics with SIDRIVE IQ
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