The audit was conducted from 13 to 17 February 2023.


The objective of the audit was to verify that the alarm management systems and competence complied with the regulations and internal requirements. The intention was to obtain an overview of how Equinor fulfilled its responsibility for the alarm management systems. A further objective was to monitor how Hammerfest LNG followed up working hours such that hazardous conditions are avoided, safe operations are ensured and the risk of failure, hazard and accident situations is reduced.


In addition to looking specifically at the alarm load and workload in the control room at the plant, the audit also addressed working hours for the Production and TPO organisational units for the period 2021-2023.

Following the fire at the Hammerfest LNG plant in 2020, Equinor undertook an extensive project to enable the plant to resume production. The plant resumed production in June 2022. The period during which the plant was restored placed great strain on the entire organisation and involved a lot of overtime. There was also pressure to return to normal operation due to the geopolitical situation and the desire to deliver gas to Europe.

The audit identified several non-conformities concerning the management and follow-up of working hours at Hammerfest LNG. There was more use of overtime during the downtime compared to normal operation, but, for the control room operators in particular, a lot of overtime is still being worked.

Hammerfest LNG has struggled for a long time to employ enough qualified personnel. Combined with high turnover, this has caused staffing difficulties. Some measures have been taken, such as being able to hire more personnel than are needed, and they have initiated a programme to train more control room operators. This may yield benefits in the longer term.

In addition, the audit identified non-conformities relating to deficient follow-up of the alarm systems. Hammerfest LNG has struggled with high alarm loads for certain operators for a long time and has not managed to reduce the load to an acceptable level, despite a positive trend in this respect.

The audit identified non-conformities in the following areas:

  • Deficient follow-up of the alarm systems
  • System for recording working hours
  • Breach of the working hours provisions
  • Deficiencies in regulatory competence in respect of working hours provisions
  • Inadequate staffing and competence

In addition, we observed two factors that we have chosen to categorise as improvement points. These concerned:

  • Non-conformity handling in the event of a breach of working hours
  • Collection, processing and use of data

What happens now?

We have asked Equinor to report by 28 April 2023 on how the non-conformities will be addressed, and for their assessment of the improvement points observed.