Johan Castberg lies in the Barents Sea, 100 kilometres north-west of Snøhvit. It is being developed with Equinor as operator and with Vår Energi and Petoro as the other licensees.

The development is based on a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, whose hull and living quarters have been built by Sembcorp Marine in Singapore.

This project has experienced challenges, including poor quality of hull welds leading to increased inspection and repair work.

The development is delayed in relation to the original plan, and a start to production from the field has been postponed from 2022 to 2024.


The PSA has conducted a number of supervisory activities directed at Johan Castberg, from the early stages of the project and throughout the construction process.

These activities have taken the form of verifications of the facility, audits of the operator’s management systems, meetings and dialogue, and an in-depth investigation of the project.

Follow-up of welding errors

While the project was under way, Equinor identified a very considerable number of welding errors on Johan Castberg.

Since the PSA became aware of these faults in 2020, it has followed up how Equinor is handling the necessary inspection and repair work, and how the company is ensuring that the safety of the facility will be maintained in the long term.

The PSA is also checking that the operator has established and is implementing an inspection programme as part of the maintenance programme on the facility.


In the summer of 2020, the PSA decided to launch an investigation of the Johan Castberg project. The aim was to identify the reasons for the challenges faced in completing the hull and equipment.

This investigation identified serious breaches of the regulations, and the PSA reacted to these by giving Equinor an order. This is a strong and legally binding reaction.

Important information about the challenges with Johan Castberg has been obtained through the investigation. It has also provided valuable lessons for future field developments.


Responsibility for safety on Johan Castberg rests with the operator. That applies in all phases of the operation – the design stage, during construction, and throughout the production period.

The PSA supervises that operations are conducted prudently – that the companies comply with the regulations and that safety is taken care of. It is nevertheless important to emphasise that this supervision is a supplement to, and not a replacement for, the companies’ own safety management.

Future supervision

The PSA’s supervision of Johan Castberg will continue. The field will be followed up closely until it comes on stream and on through the production phase.

These supervisory activities will be directed at all relevant disciplines, and priority will be given to those parts of the project which the PSA regards as the most significant.

Consent to use

Before Equinor can take Johan Castberg into use and start production, it must secure consent from the PSA.

A consent expresses the PSA’s confidence that the facility can be operated prudently.

In order to secure it, Equinor must document to the PSA that Johan Castberg is complete and that it satisfies the requirements in the regulations.

Johan Castberg

Johan Castberg is a field in the Barents Sea, 100 kilometres northwest of the Snøhvit field. The water depth is 370 metres. Johan Castberg consists of the three discoveries Skrugard, Havis and Drivis, proven between 2011 and 2013. The discoveries will be developed together, and the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in June 2018. The development concept is a production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) with additional subsea solutions including 18 horizontal production wells and 12 injection wells.

The field is currently under development. Production is scheduled to start in 2024.