Kvaerner cuts first steel for Equinor’s Johan Castberg FPSO

Johan Castberg field. Source: Equinor

Norwegian engineering and construction company Kvaerner has cut the first sheet for the topside of the Equinor-operated Johan Castberg FSPO vessel, which will operate in the Barents Sea offshore Norway. 

Equinor said on Wednesday that the Norwegian minister of petroleum and energy, Kjell-Børge Freiberg, has cut the first sheet for the FPSO topside at Kværner’s yard at Stord in Norway.

The construction will create major ripple effects throughout Norway, Equinor said on Wednesday announcing the beginning of construction.

In February this year, Kvaerner signed a contract with Equinor for fabrication of the topside modules for the Johan Castberg FPSO, plus hook-up and integration of the topside modules with the hull. The majority of the modules will be delivered by Norwegian yards.

Kvaerner’s facility at Stord will fabricate the modules for gas injection, for the re-compressor and for separation, while the company’s facility in Verdal will fabricate the module for seawater handling and the main pipe rack. As subcontractor to Kvaerner, Aker Solutions’ yards in Egersund and Sandnessjøen will, respectively, deliver two modules as well as a module and the FPSO’s flare boom.

According to Equinor, more than 2 million working hours will be included in the construction of the topside in total and it is expected to generate jobs for 4,800 people.


Opening new area in Barents Sea 


Anders Opedal, Equinor’s executive vice president for Technology, Projects and Drilling, said: “Johan Castberg is the next major development on the Norwegian continental shelf and will open a new area in the Barents Sea for Equinor. Johan Castberg’s development will have ripple effects equivalent to 47,000 man-years in Norway during the development phase. The value of Norwegian goods and services will amount to around NOK 25 billion.”

Project director for Johan Castberg, Knut Gjertsen, said: “Simultaneously, work will begin at a number of yards along the entire Norwegian coast. Already, many small and large Norwegian suppliers are in the process of delivering to Johan Castberg. This shows the competitiveness and competencies of the Norwegian supplier industry in hard global competition.”

There will be extensive activity at the yards in Verdal, Egersund, and Sandnessjøen in addition to Stord over the next few years constructing the many parts that will form the complex topside. It will be installed on the 200-meter long FPSO vessel that will be producing on the Johan-Castberg field for 30 years from the planned production start in 2022.

The construction of the other two big puzzle pieces of the FPSO is already well underway. The hull is under construction in Singapore, and the turret is being built in Dubai. These will eventually arrive at Stord in 2020 for assembly and completion before the vessel is moved to its permanent home in the Barents Sea.

The Johan Castberg partnership includes Equinor, as the operator with a 50%, Eni with a 30%, and Petoro with the remaining 20% interest.

The field development concept includes an FPSO vessel and extensive subsea development, with a total of 30 wells, 10 subsea templates, and two satellite structures. The Johan Castberg development costs are estimated at around NOK 49 billion.

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