Field/project development

Equinor FPSO Johan Castberg Departs Stord Yard

The massive vessel moved from Aker Solutions quayside to begin sea trials ahead of deployment in the Barents Sea prior to year-end.

FPSO Johan Castberg.jpg
The vessel's bright orange hull had been a mainstay at Aker Solutions' Stord shipyard for 2 years.
SOURCE: Equinor

The massive Johan Castberg FPSO has left quayside at Aker Solutions’ Stord yard to begin sea trials in Klosterfjorden ahead of its deployment in the Barents Sea at the end of the summer.

At more than 300 m long, 120 m tall, the vessel’s bright orange hull has been a dominant figure in the Stord skyline for the past 2 years.

The FPSO—the largest Equinor has ever built—is the centerpiece of the Johan Castberg development scheduled for startup prior to year-end. Equinor revealed in a post on LinkedIn that the last mooring line quayside was cut just before midday and the vessel was tug-guided into open waters.

“What am I thinking? I’m thinking I’m very happy,” said Ola Hjøllo, project director for Equinor in a video posted to LinkedIn. “It has been 2 years since the FPSO came to Stord, and this is a great day for the whole community here at Stord.”

The project had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and experienced challenges with welding quality—both of which impacted the budget.

Equinor said last September that when the plan for development and operation was submitted in 2017, the cost estimate was around $5.4 billion. The operator then updated the project cost estimate to about $7.6 billion, citing both overruns and the currency effect.

FPSO Johan Castberg is designed to handle peak production of 220,000 B/D of oil. The Johan Castberg field is estimated to hold recoverable reserves of between 450 and 650 million bbl.

The field is located approximately 100 km north of the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea, 150 km from Goliat and almost 240 km from Melkøya in Hammerfest. The field's water depth ranges from 360 to 390 m. The development plan will utilize 30 subsea wells distributed on 10 templates and two satellites tied back to the FPSO.

Equinor is the field operator and holds a 50% working interest. Partners Vår Energi and Petoro hold 30% and 20% stakes, respectively.