Heligo mobilises for BG in $75m chopper contract

Vol 17, PW 18 (24 Apr 14) Exploration & Production

BG, ONGC and Reliance are sparing no cost to safely ferry workers to the offshore PMT fields.

Heligo Charters is mobilising two top-of-the-range Dauphin N3 helicopters next month to Juhu airport for a six and a half year contract, worth an estimated $75m. The 12-seater aircraft will make up to four trips a day ferrying crew and equipment from Juhu airport to platforms at Panna and Tapti.

BG insists the six-year old helicopters must meet the latest safety specifications from manufacturer Eurocopter, including externally mounted life-rafts. This delayed the arrival of the choppers, originally due in March, by at least two months.

“None of the other Dauphins in India have life-rafts fitted outside for push button ejection by the pilot,” says an industry source. Because of the delay mobilising the Heligo copters, PMT partners were forced to temporarily extend contracts with Pawan Hans and Global Vectra, who currently provide one helicopter each.

Heligo, part of the JV Gokal group, was second lowest bidder in last year's tender and only won when Global Vectra withdrew its bid. A consortium source speculates Vectra could not source aircraft meeting the strict requirement that at no point in the contract should machines be over 15 years old.

Pawan Hans currently has the contract to provide emergency air services for PMT, also from its Juhu airbase. Heligo’s fleet includes two Bell 412 machines and three Augusta Westland 139s.