Offshore market to benefit from new-generation helicopters

Offshore staff

FAVERSHAM, UK – Douglas-Westwood’s (DW) World Offshore Helicopters Market Forecast 2017-2021 projects $18 billion in oil and gas-related expenditure over the next five years.

Despite the industry’s capex cutbacks, the volume of fixed and floating platform facilities coupled with drilling and production activities sanctioned prior to the oil price downturn will continue to drive demand for helicopter support services, the report claims.

Another positive factor is the increased number of deepwater developments moving farther from shore. During 2017-21, DW expects a 3% compound annual growth rate in global oil and gas helicopter expenditure.

Production support should remain more resilient to fluctuations in oil price than drilling. Passenger transfers to production assets will continue to account for the majority of spending, on average 60% over the forecast period, with much of the demand arising from ongoing production phase support.

A new generation of medium-class helicopters, such as the H175 and AW189, has been developed to provide higher crew capacity, power, and range. These aircraft are highly efficient, DW points out, with advanced safety systems and should therefore perform well in the offshore arena.

In the longer term, there is the prospect of high speed rotorcrafts entering the market, with Leonardo’s AW609 likely to be the first tiltrotor serving the offshore industry. Certification of the first AW609 should go through in 2018.

Following last year’s helicopter crash on the Norwegian coast, the H225 / EC225 Super Pumas remain grounded by both the UK and Norwegian Civil Aviation Authorities.


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