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HeliTorque :: View topic - Offshore helicopter boom forecast
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Offshore, Onshore & Utility

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Offshore helicopter boom forecast
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:51 pm    Post subject: Offshore helicopter boom forecast Reply with quote

Eurocopter-subsidiary Helibras is eyeing a requirement from Brazil’s state-controlled oil company for 80 to 90 medium to heavy helicopters over the next decade.

Petroleo Brasilero SA (Petrobras) plans to boost oil production by more than 50% over the next four years by developing offshore fields as far as 300km from the coast.

Speaking at the Invest in Brazil event in London on 8 August, Helibras executive vice-president Eduardo Mauad said the expected demand from Petrobras was expected to fuel sales of Helibras-assembled EC225 helicopters.

‘The oil and gas activities in Brazil are growing very quickly and strongly. Platforms are being located further and further offshore. So naturally helicopters are the necessary means to transport there,’ Mauad said.

‘Petrobras is demonstrating a need of around 80 to 90 medium and heavy medium helicopters in the next seven to eight years. This means a lot of production.’

In December 2011 Petrobras revealed that it was then serviced by 91 helicopters for off-shore activities, including 20 heavy aircraft. The company’s demand for heavy helicopters has been forecast to increase by as much as 350% as it goes further offshore to establish fields in the pre-salt area.

The major offshore helicopter operators will be looking to increase their partnerships with Brazilian companies to take advantage of this expected boom in demand. For example CHC is currently represented by Brazilian Helicopter Services (BHS) while Bristow works with Lider Aviacao Holding SA.

Mauad confirmed that Helibras’ new EC725 production line at Itajuba, in the state of Minas Gerais, was now up and running and the company was working towards its goal of providing 50% Brazilian content as part of the agreement with the Brazilian armed forces for 50 EC725s. Helibras expects to be producing the civilian EC225 variant by 2014.

‘Through this contract we are not only delivering helicopters but we are also bringing technology to the country. Through this agreement we are developing partnerships with Brazilian industry. We are benefiting a lot by the industry already developed by Embraer – lots of tier ones, and tiers two and three,’ Mauad said.

Eurocopter has invested more than $200 million in Brazil and expects to soon open a new technological research centre as it moves towards its ambition of conceiving, designing and manufacturing a new design of helicopter in the South American country.

Mauad also revealed that the company was nearing a decision about which class of helicopter in Eurocopter’s portfolio would be replaced by the Helibras-produced machine.

‘Brazil is a strategic country, not just for Eurocopter but for EADS as well – and we are defining over the next few months which kind of helicopters will be developed and fully industrialised in Brazil. This means lots of subcontracting and support activities in the future,’ he explained.

‘Some that are flying today are getting to the end of their life and they must be replaced. And it will be replaced by a helicopter that is fully conceived and industrialised in Brazil. And this is to deliver worldwide, not just for the region and Latin America.’

The new helicopter is expected to start rolling off the production line in ten years’ time.

by Tony Skinner in London
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