Norway criticises Equinor and SembCorp over Arctic newbuild

Image: Equinor.

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) says corners were cut in FPSO newbuilding project for the Barents Sea.

Norwegian authorities have heavily criticised the build-quality of Equinior’s Johan Castberg FPSO which was ordered in 2017 and is due to enter service in the Barents Sea at the end of 2022.

“The PSA became aware in the first half of 2020 of weld-quality errors in the Johan Castberg FPSO hull,” wrote the regulators in a 1 June report. “Extensive repair work is required.”

The 250,000-dwt vessel was built by SembCorp Marine and the PSA blames a lack of “competent personnel” for errors in the ship’s weld-quality. The regulator also said Equinor was aware of the flaws and failed to rectify them promptly.

“Inspection and repair cannot compensate for inadequate welding expertise,” wrote the authorities. “Inaccessible details and areas [of the hull] will have a lower structural reliability than would have been the case if the welding had been done by competent personnel.”

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