Equinor could be facing a further delay to delivery of its Johan Castberg floating production, storage and offloading vessel from a Singapore yard as welding deficiencies and reduced manpower due to Covid-19 restrictions severely hamper fabrication work.

Vital components of the vessel under construction at Sembcorp Marine (Sembmarine) are now being preserved using metallic foil to protect them from the elements “as it is unclear when work can resume”, according to a project source.

The Norwegian state-controlled operator is now also undertaking the enormous task of checking every weld seam after finding an unacceptably high rejection rate for pre-erection and erection welds on the hull of the floater, with the situation being monitored by the country’s safety watchdog.