12-Mar-2021 Source: HeliHub.com
HeliHub.com understands that Apache Corporation have invoked a 120-day termination clause on Bristow Helicopters for their contract to provide helicopters between Aberdeen and the Forties and Beryl fields.
In this unusual move, Bristow will have flown 75% of the original five year contract, which started in September 2017. It also puts offshore operators on warning that other oil companies could cite this move as a precedent if they want to follow the Apache approach to contract commitment.
Bristow fly for Apache with a Leonardo AW189 and a Sikorsky S92. HeliHub.com understands from industry sources that Apache considered Bristow expensive and had reportedly approached other operators to explore other options. From around 8th July, a new contract with CHC will commence using two S92s at a price Bristow were not prepared to match.
Some sources were suggesting to HeliHub.com that Apache had cited “availability of the AW189” as an issue. Market intelligence data from Parapex Media confirms that Bristow only have the one offshore-equipped AW189 in Europe, and everyone involved in aviation knows that helicopters can be offline for maintenance, both scheduled or otherwise. It is thus feasible that a sole aircraft not being available is more noticeable with no like-for-like backup, even though an S92 was always provided.
Bristow operate two AW189s in Nigeria, and acquired four on the Gulf of Mexico through the merger with Era Helicopters. They also have 11 in the UK dedicated to the national SAR contract.