Helicopters in demand as tenders approach

Vol 13, PW 22 (22 Apr 10) Exploration & Production

Helicopter operators are eagerly awaiting a string of offshore tenders from ONGC, BG, GSPC, Eni, Transocean and Cairn.

PETROWATCH learns ONGC is gearing up to issue a tender to re-hire or replace 12 helicopters now on hire from affiliate company Pawan Hans, for transferring equipment to offshore platforms and rigs, and whose contracts end this December. This is the largest helicopter tender expected this year and will be especially attractive as ONGC is likely to offer five-year contracts.

“Everybody will bid in this tender,” says one helicopter operator. Next, British Gas is likely to issue a tender to re-hire or replace two helicopters at the Panna, Mukta and Tapti fields, which it operates with ONGC and Reliance.

This tender is expected “very soon”, we hear, as existing three year contracts for two Global Vectra helicopters end this October. BG is likely to offer bidders fresh three to four-year contracts.

Meanwhile, GSPC is ready to issue re-hire tenders for two Global Vectra helicopters working at its eastern offshore discovery block KG-OSN-2001/3, where development drilling will begin from July when Aban Offshore jack-up Deep Driller-1 mobilises to discovery well KG#8. “One of the contracts ends this month,” says an observer.

Further afield, Italian major Eni is likely to offer contracts soon for one or two helicopters needed when it begins exploration drilling at offshore Andaman Islands block AN-DWN-2003/2. “Eni will probably need these helicopters from the last quarter of 2010,” says a helicopter provider.

“We were earlier told (Eni-owned deepwater drillship) Saipem 10000 would be mobilised (to the Andaman Islands) around July,” we hear. “But now it seems this has been delayed to the end of the year.

” Finally, Transocean is shortly expected to float a re-hire tender for one of two Global Vectra helicopters. Tenders are also expected from Cairn India and Cairn Lanka.