Belgian offshore operator NHV has embarked on its first project since merging with Blueway group by securing a hangar at Aberdeen. Ceo Eric Van Hal is looking to base a number of EC175s at this location, following orders for 10 of the type in February 2012 and an additional six earlier this year.
The merger with Blueway has opened up new avenues of possibility. “We had a few things in mind with the merger, but of course things don’t always go as planned with all the different entities,” he says. “But once we had investor Ardian as a shareholder on board, it was part of the strategy to look at ‘buy and build’ options.
“In Aberdeen we hope to gain a portion of the market. The EC175 is a suitable aircraft to be positioned there.”
Van Hal explains that the southern North Sea is serviced by smaller helicopter types, due to restrictions on the decks of older rigs. “Further north you currently have to fly with big, heavy aircraft, but the super mediums or light heavies – the AW189 and EC175 – may be able to handle these missions in the future.
“We have a couple of those on order, so we think that this will change the fleet in Aberdeen significantly.”
NHV is also able to offer its customers the EC225 and the merger has increased the range of products available. “We think we are ready to offer some alternatives to the oil and gas companies in the North Sea,” he continues. “We are at this stage the only operator with a network in all the North Sea countries, so I think we have a good geographical spread for the global players.
“The first thing to do is to get the market share which would be normal for a company of our size. We will have Scotland, England, Holland and Denmark, so we are looking at the whole North Sea, and of course Africa where our presence is also important.”
The EC175 has been designed to meet evolving oil and gas industry mission needs, and includes large windows, minimal vibrations, a modern machine-pilot interface and an intelligent maintenance system.