Bristow becomes second UK offshore operator in wind-farm market

Bristow becomes second UK offshore operator in wind-farm market

22-Oct-2010 Source: Bristow Helicopters

[ editor note – we are running the Bristow press release verbatim below. However, we note their careful wording “the first global helicopter operator” when there is already another UK helicopter operator in this marketplace. Bond already fly an EC135 out of Lowestoft in support of the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm. Press release follows…]

Helicopters Ltd (Bristow) has announced its entry into the renewable energy market with the launch of a new range of flexible services. The move makes Bristow the first global helicopter operator to offer a dedicated service to the international offshore wind farm sector.

The global aviation company has developed a number of unique commercial packages for supplying helicopter access services to meet the varying needs of wind farm operators all over the world. These include sole use, consortium and pay as you use.

Scott Butler, Bristow’s European Commercial Manager said: “Bristow was the first helicopter operator to be active in the North Sea oil and gas sector and has provided aviation support to the industry for more than 40 years. We are now looking to build on that reputation by being one of the first to service the offshore wind industry.

“We have used our extensive expertise to develop a safe, flexible and cost effective method of helicopter access. We are also working closely with wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm operators to ensure helicopter access is considered when designing and operating turbines and substations.

“Entering the offshore wind sector is part of our ongoing growth strategy and in years to come will undoubtedly prove to be as vital as the oil and gas market.”

Bristow provides wind farm operators with personnel transfer (crew change and winch to work), freight transportation, aerial observations, rescue operations and winch to work training.

The winching process is extremely safe and controlled with personnel being lowered from just 10ft above the turbine nacelle platform. Delivering the engineers directly onto the platform saves a slow and difficult climb from a vessel up the turbine tower, and there is no loss of man hours due to sea sickness.

Scott continues: “It’s not just people who we can transport by helicopter, the underslinging of up to three tonnes of freight is also well within our capabilities and likely to feature as a major component in our overall scope of works.”

The helicopter looks set to become the mainstay mode of people transfer, mirroring its position as the tried and tested lifeline of the offshore oil and gas industry. In an average year several hundred thousand people are transferred by helicopter to offshore oil and gas installations in the UK North Sea.

The EU renewables target is to source 20% of Europe’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Offshore wind energy is expected to provide a large share of renewable electricity, generated by wind turbines.

A Round 3 wind farm can have as many as 1,500 turbines with each turbine requiring between five and 10 visits per annum, that equates to approximately 20 – 40 visits to the wind farm field per day.

Founded in 1953, Bristow Helicopters Ltd has numerous bases around the world. The company has 3500 employees and boasts a varied fleet of approximately 600 aircraft.

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