This Barents Sea field is being developed by Equinor as operator, with Petoro and Vår Energi as the other licensees.

The PSA became aware on 25 June 2020 that Equinor had identified major challenges with the quality of welds in the hull of the Johan Castberg floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit. In addition, the authority became aware that errors had been found in the analysis programme used for fatigue calculations.

Corrective work means that the FPSO hull will be delayed in relation to the plan for development and operation (PDO) of Johan Castberg. Furthermore, efforts to correct weld and fatigue-analysis errors create uncertainty about the structure’s integrity over the producing life of the field.


Report no 12 (2017-2018) to the Storting on health, safety and the environment in the petroleum sector and the supplement to the letter of allocation for 2018 highlighted the importance of the PSA’s supervision in the early phase and field developments.

As a consequence, the authority commissioned a study of field development projects on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

Read: Field projects off Norway studied

This review contains a number of important lessons for ensuring good project execution.

An investigation will allow the PSA to assess whether the study’s recommendations have been taken into account, and to identify further lessons to be learnt for new field developments.


An investigation team comprising specialists from the PSA is starting work now.

The purpose of the investigation is to identify why the Johan Castberg project organisation failed to identify the weld faults and analysis errors at an earlier stage.

The development project’s follow-up strategy, its reporting to the licensees and the authorities, and its verification plans will be covered. Findings will also contribute to learning lessons for future field developments.

The investigation will be confined to the period from the award of the construction contract for the hull until the PSA became aware of the extent of the challenges on 25 June 2020.

In conducting its investigation, the PSA will

  • clarify the course of events
  • assess the actual and potential consequences of the weld faults and analysis errors for safety
  • assess direct and underlying causes
  • identify possible regulatory breaches
  • make public its findings
  • contribute to experience transfer to and learning by other players in the petroleum sector.

The investigation will be summed up in a report published at