Progress on Repairing Weld Defects Aboard Equinor's New FPSO

johan castberg
Illustration courtesy Equinor

Published Apr 19, 2021 9:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

The previously reported weld quality issues aboard the newly-built FPSO for the Johan Castberg field are being carefully repaired, and the work is nearing completion, according to operator Equinor.

Equinor reported Monday that Johan Castberg's weld defect issues stem from multiple causes. The complex vessel is under construction at Sembcorp Marine in Singapore, and though the deviations began as early as January 2017, the issues were first detected when Equinor's own personnel cross-checked areas last year. 

“Safety is Equinor’s top priority. We are currently carrying out extensive cross-checking and repair of welds to ensure that the Johan Castberg production vessel meets the safety and integrity requirements. When Johan Castberg comes on stream, there should be no doubt that the vessel is safe,” says Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s senior vice president for project development. “To ensure learning and avoid similar situations in other projects or at other yards, we have carried out a thorough investigation."

Tungesvik's team identified four shared points of responsibility for the outcome and did not exclusively place blame on the shipyard. It concluded that:

- Sembcorp allegedly "failed to provide sufficient competent welders and welding inspectors for execution of the scope and did not sufficiently comply with processes and work routines for execution and follow up."

- Equinor's personnel did not fully follow the firm's own work processes and procedures for risk management, construction management and follow-up.

- Even if Equinor’s follow-up team found signs of poor quality at an early stage, the extent and degree of seriousness were not understood.

- Equinor’s follow-up team has not had enough personnel with experience and expertise in welding and welding control.

In response, the review recommends that Equinor should improve its prequalification process for new suppliers; strengthen on-site follow-up and risk management; and improve the composition of follow-up teams to cover all areas of required expertise. 

According to Equinor, Sembcorp is responsible for correcting all deviations in quality and costs related to the welding repairs, according to the contract. The cross-checks and improvements are almost completed, and Equinor says it is following them up closely.