Columbia Helicopters is pleased to announce that it will soon deploy two additional Columbia Model 234 Chinook helicopters to the southern Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG). This will bring the total number of Columbia aircraft and crews in PNG to four.
Each aircraft will work on petroleum exploration operations, flying entire petroleum drilling rigs piece by piece over the top of PNGâ€™s ecologically sensitive rain forests.
One Chinook will work under contract to Oil Search Limited, which is already utilizing a Columbia Chinook and a Columbia 107-II Vertol at their Southern Highlands base of Moro. Oil Search Limited, based in Sydney, Australia with offices in PNGâ€™s capital of Port Moresby, is an oil and gas exploration and development company that has been operating in PNG since 1929. They also have current operations in Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Iraq.
The second Chinook will work under contract to Talisman Energy, Inc., with which Columbia Helicopters also works on petroleum operations in Peru. Talisman Energy Inc. is a global, diversified, upstream oil and gas company, headquartered in Canada. Talisman’s three main operating areas are North America, the North Sea and Southeast Asia.
â€œWe are pleased that Oil Search Limited and Talisman Energy appreciate our services to the point that each of them has decided to expand our contracts,â€ said Columbia Helicopters President Michael Fahey. â€œThe petroleum industry has long recognized that the Chinookâ€™s incredible lifting capacity makes them the ideal aircraft to support exploration activities.â€
Both Chinook helicopters will deploy in the companyâ€™s Utility configuration, meaning that the aircraft are put together exclusively as an external lifting machine. In this configuration, each aircraft is capable of carrying loads of approximately 26,000-pounds. This capacity greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to disassemble and then rebuild the drilling rigs, and allows for precision placement by the highly-skilled pilots.
Each aircraft will deploy with a team of 5 or 6 pilots, and up to a dozen maintenance personnel. These crews will rotate in and out of the country on a monthly basis, with half the crew on-site at any given time. They will be joined by specially trained Load Coordinators and Load Managers who work with the customers to maximize the efficiency and safety of each load flown by the helicopter.
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