EXCLUSIVE: S92 Emergency – Crew Prepared Passengers to Ditch as Cost Saving Measures Put Lives at Risk

EXCLUSIVE: S92 Emergency – Crew Prepared Passengers to Ditch as Cost Saving Measures Put Lives at Risk

Published in Oil Industry News on Friday, 21 October 2016 Graphic for News Item:

Graphic for News Item: EXCLUSIVE: S92 Emergency - Crew Prepared Passengers to Ditch as Cost Saving Measures Put Lives at Risk

EXCLUSIVE: S92 Emergency – Crew Prepared Passengers to Ditch as Cost Saving Measures Put Lives at Risk Oil and Gas People have obtained the internal crew report from the helicopter emergency incident we broke on Sunday the 16th of October. The report (available below) confirms a CHC owned Sikorsky S92 Helicopter declared an emergency after a fire warning light was triggered on one of its engines. Both primary and reserve fire suppression systems were activated and the engine fire warning light persisted. Pilots dropped the aircraft to 500 feet and briefed passengers in anticipation of an emergency ditching.

Luckily the aircraft was close by two offshore installations and was able to get visual confirmation that no signs of fire or smoke were present from Petrojarll Banff Heli staff. This negative confirmation enabled pilots to assume a spurious indication and continue flying the aircraft to shore. The assistance of a Bristow’s helicopter was requested by Air Traffic Control to tail the aircraft back to base and keep pilots informed of any new indications of fire. Had this helicopter been flying in an isolated area of the North Sea where negative confirmation of an engine fire was not possible, emergency procedures would have required the helicopter to ditch and due to the false indication would have needlessly jeopardised the lives of all passengers and crew on board.

Today an aviation industry insider who wishes to stay anonymous has advised Oil and Gas People that a tail mounted camera upgrade for the S92 is available and has been recommended which gives pilots their own eyes on the aircraft engines. This would have allowed for instant confirmation and monitoring as to whether a fire existed or developed. This confirmation in the event of a real fire would save vital seconds / minutes in the decision process to ditch the aircraft. The camera modification costs around $50,000 which given the S92s history of spurious warning lights seems a small price to pay for an upgrade that could prevent a helicopter needlessly ditching.

The upgrade however also requires each aircraft to be out of service for one week at a time when there is a lack of available helicopters following the grounding of the Super Puma fleet in June this year, a factor that is no doubt pivotal in the decision not to implement the cameras on this aircraft. Oil and Gas People have learned that the camera system has already been adopted on other helicopter models but has not yet been implemented on all Sikorsky S92s.

The original crew report is available below and we have clarified the following terms for your reference: AMSL = Above Mean Sea Level, ECL = Emergency Check List, HLO = Helicopter Landing Officer, ATC = Air Traffic Control, OEI = One Engine Inoperative

Title: Engine Fire warning Number 2 Description: Levelled off at 1000 feet AMSL with 10 mins to go to the Offshore platform we were alerted by the Engine fire warning Audio and associated captions (No. 2). P2 was Pilot Flying (PF) initiated immediate actions, P1 was pilot Monitoring (PM) and initiated Immediate actions firing off the Main fire bottle. After 15 secs fire warnings were still indicating FIRE, so Reserve fire bottle fired, during the 15 sec wait the P2 initiated a Right hand turn and descent to 500 feet in anticipation of ditching, ECL drills completed. PM in right hand seat checked outside for other confirming indications (smoke) and NON seen, suspecting a spurious alarm and as we were close by two other offshore installations and we decided to contact one of them to get some form of visual confirmation from the HLO before we Ditched or returned to base in the darkness. Petrojarll Banff HLO confirmed that there were no visible signs of fire from the Starboard side and although we had prepped the passengers for a possible ditching we deemed it safer to return to base and briefed them of such. ATC and offshore installations were fully aware of our situation and kept updated of our intentions at all times.

ATC co-ordinated a Bristows A/c to fly behind to monitor for any deterioration in our situation. A/c returned to base OEI and running landing with Emergency services in full attendance. If you have a story relating to the oil and gas industry that you would like to bring to our attention, please contact our news team in confidence at: news@oilandgaspeople.com

Health & Safety offshore is no accident,offshore trade unions through the offshore  coordinating  group (OCG) and the Norwegian unions work together to raise and maintain the high levels of Health & Safety standards in the major risk industry of Oil & Gas offshore sector in the North Sea.

Offshore trade unions work with all stakeholders offshore to ensure safety is the number one priority at all times protecting  all who work, travel and maintain the North Sea offshore helicopter fleet and that they are trained to the highest safety standards.

This latest helicopter incident highlights another case of where the helicopter crew and backup services averted a potential controlled ditching in the sea due to their quick thinking, high levels of skill and experience, enabled them to quickly  assess and avert any  ditching.  They then  were able to decide on the safest and the best course of action to take, which resulted in all crew and passengers returning back home safe, the helicopter crew and all backup service personnel are to be commended.

Offshore trade unions will continue to raise and highlight issues of Health & Safety  for  workers offshore and  will demand protection and highest training standards and equipment  for workers and  will hold account all stakeholders, legislators, manufacturers,employers, contractors and governments to ensure Health & Safety offshore is no accident.


The Offshore Coordinating Group of offshore unions (UNITE, RMT, GMB, Nautilus International and BALPA) was launched in February 2016.

The aims and objectives of the Group are to:

• co-ordinate the recruitment and organisation of all employees in the offshore oil and gas industries and thereafter to seek recognition on their behalf.

• campaign to improve both the quality and security of employment in the offshore sector and the health, safety and wellbeing of all offshore workers.

• organise and pursue effective campaigns on issues identified by the Group in the interests of the offshore workforce.

• organise and articulate the collective trade union voice in strategic discussions with Government at all levels, regulators and employer organisations.




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If you have a story relating to the oil and gas industry that you would like to bring to Unite the Unions attention, please contact our Unite offshore team in confidence @ : offshoreunite@gmail.com

Three Oil Workers Survive Helicopter Crash in Russia That Leaves 19 Dead

Three Oil Workers Survive Helicopter Crash That Leaves 19 Dead

Published in Oil Industry News on Sunday, 23 October 2016

Graphic for News Item: Three Oil Workers Survive Helicopter Crash That Leaves 19 Dead

Nineteen people were killed and three more hospitalized after an Mi-8 helicopter crash-landed on Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, Russian Emergencies Ministry has confirmed.

Two black boxes of the Mi-8 have been found by rescue teams “in good condition,” a source told Russian News Site RIA Novosti.

Reports from the ground say that the helicopter was badly damaged upon landing and fell onto its side, but did not explode. Poor visibility was being reported on the ground.

Earlier, a survivor of the crash reached the rescuers via a cell phone. The man said he was trapped in the wreckage.

Two rescue helicopters with paramedics and emergency workers were dispatched to the site, with a total of 140 people involved in the operation.

According to recent reports, the bodies of all of the crash victims have been recovered from the wreckage of the aircraft. The three men in the helicopter crew are listed among the dead. The passengers are said to be oil-industry workers.

Search and rescue operations at the crash site have now ended.

An investigation has been launched under Part 3 of article 263 of the criminal code entitled “Violation of safety rules and operation of air transport, resulting in the death of two or more persons,” TASS reported, citing the Investigation Committee.

“The investigation deals with three main versions of the crash of the aircraft: a violation of the rules of operation and flight safety, equipment failure, and adverse weather conditions. None of these is so far regarded as most likely,” the Investigation Committee said in a statement.

Criminologists from the central office of Russia’s Investigative Committee will be taking part in the investigation, as well as experts from the Interstate Aviation Committee.

Reports of the Mi-8 helicopter crash-landing 80 kilometers northwest of the settlement of Urengoy came in late Friday local time. The helicopter, belonging to the Skol air company, was flying to the Suzumskoye oil and gas field in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, TASS reported. The airworthiness certificate of the helicopter, which was manufactured in 1984, was valid until 2017, according to the Federal Air Transport Agency.

A day of mourning was announced for the region following the news of the crash.

“October 22 is proclaimed as a day of mourning. The flags on [governmental and public institutions] will be lowered, all recreational activities canceled,” the region’s assistant governor, Kudrat Baychibaev, told RIA Novosti news agency.

District Governor Dmitry Kobylkin has expressed his condolences to the families of the crash victims.



Helicopter Crash, Siberia, Russia, Skol Air

Breaking – 19 Reported Dead as Helicopter Carrying Oil Workers Crashes

Breaking – 19 Reported Dead as Helicopter Carrying Oil Workers Crashes

Published in Oil Industry News on Saturday, 22 October 2016

Graphic for News Item: Breaking - 19 Reported Dead as Helicopter Carrying Oil Workers Crashes

Russia’s aviation agency says 19 people have died after a helicopter carrying oil workers crashed.

The Federal Air Transport Agency says in its statement Saturday that 16 of the 19 passengers on board and all three crew members died in Friday’s crash in northern Russia.

The Mi-8 helicopter was traveling from Vankor to Staryi Urengoi in the Yamalo-Nenets region when it crashed about 45 kilometers (28 miles) northeast of Staryi Urengoi.

Rescuers found the helicopter lying on its side in the tundra. The agency said poor visibility and strong winds could have been factors.

The Mi-8 has been a mainstay of Soviet and Russian aviation since the late 1960s and is widely used worldwide.

Source: uk.news.yahoo.com


Nineteen people die in helicopter crash in northern Russia

Three survivors taken to hospital after Mi-8 carrying oil workers comes down 28 miles north-east of Staryi Urengoi

Site of Mi-8 helicopter crash in northern Russia.
Site of Mi-8 helicopter crash in northern Russia. Photograph: Tass/Barcroft Images

Nineteen people have been killed after a helicopter carrying oil workers crashed in northern Russia.

The country’s aviation agency said 16 of the 19 passengers and all three crew members died when the aircraft crashed on Friday afternoon. The three survivors were taken to hospital.

The Mi-8 helicopter was travelling from Vankor to Staryi Urengoi in the Yamalo-Nenets region when it came down about 28 miles (45km) north-east of its destination.

It took rescuers seven hours to reach the crash site amid fog and poor visibility. Colonel Dmitry Alexandrov, a regional government official, said the helicopter “fell on its right side, and the victims could not get out”.

The governor of Yamalo-Nenets, Dmitry Kobylkin, announced a day of mourning on Saturday with flags lowered and entertainment events cancelled, calling the accident a source of “great sorrow for all of us”.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, expressed his condolences to the relatives and friends of those who died, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

File image of an Mi-8 helicopter.
File image of an Mi-8 helicopter. Photograph: Russian Helicopters

The aircraft, owned by the Siberian Skol aviation company, was transporting workers from a subcontractor of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, the Tass news agency reported.

Russia’s investigative committee said the crash could have been caused by a failure to comply with flight safety regulations, mechanical problems or difficult weather conditions. The agency has opened a criminal investigation.

The twin-engined Mi-8 series is the most successful Russian helicopter model, with more than 12,000 produced since it was first built in the late 1960s.

They have been sold to more than 100 countries and have spent about 100m hours in the air. However, there have been several crashes involving the helicopters n recent years.

In July 2013, an Mi-8 carrying 25 passengers crashed in a remote area of eastern Siberia, killing 21 people.

In June 2014, 16 people died after an Mi-8 with 18 people onboard plunged into Lake Munozero, near Murmansk, in northern Russia.

And in November 2015, 15 people died when an Mi-8 crashed near Igarka in western Siberia, while another 10 were injured.



This highlights the harsh and dangerous conditions oil workers face while traveling to  and from work in a high-risk sector , where major accidents and incidents can happen at any time.

Our thoughts and prayers  and deepest  condolences to all affected by this tragedy.

Unite the Union calls for public investment to take advantage of oil opportunity


Unite the Union calls for public investment to take advantage of oil opportunity


Scotland’s biggest union has called for governments at Westminster and Holyrood to invest in new infrastructure to help take advantage of untapped offshore oil and gas.


Today (Wednesday 19 October), the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) published research on the potential of small pools of oil and gas in UK waters.


It estimated that there was an equivalent of more than three billion barrels of oil untapped underneath the UK continental shelf, and described it as a ‘very significant opportunity’.


Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: Scotland’s oil and gas industry is going through a crisis. The number of jobs lost as a result of the downturn in the UK oil and gas sector could be above 120,000 by the end of 2016.


“But today’s research shows that there is potential for a new lease of life for the offshore industry in Scotland. Companies should be encouraged to use their existing rigs and pipelines to recover pools wherever that’s possible.


“However a number of these small pools lie further away and will need new stand-alone solutions. Our governments could use their borrowing powers to take out public stakes in new offshore infrastructure. That would encourage companies to also invest, would support jobs, and would create returns for the public purse as the oil and gas from these pools begins to flow.


“Today we are repeating our call for an urgent summit, bringing together the UK and Scottish Governments, the trade unions and industry, to look at this idea and create a strategy for the future.”




Notes to editors


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631.


More information about the Oil & Gas Authority report can be found on their website here.


Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.


Twitter: @UniteScotland

Facebook: UniteScotland

Web: http://www.unitetheunion.org/scotland


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Unions Worried About Safety After Three Incidents Offshore Norway


Unions Worried About Safety After Three Incidents Offshore Norway

Published in Oil Industry News on Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Graphic for News Item: Unions Worried About Safety After Three Incidents Offshore Norway

Two Norwegian workers’ unions, Industri Energi and Safe, have warned about an increasing frequency of incidents on the Norwegian Continental Shelf following three separate incidents over the past weekend.

All three incidents occurred on Statoil-operated facilities offshore Norway. First, a well control incident occurred on the drilling rig Songa Endurance on Saturday. Statoil had to evacuate 20 out of 107 workers from the rig.

Next, a fire broke out on Sunday aboard Statoil’s Statfjord A platform, in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, prompting a production shut down.


Later on Sunday, Statoil also had to shut down production at its Gullfaks A platform in the North Sea after a gas alarm was triggered. The production was restored late last night.

Industri Energi’s Håkon Aasen Bjerkeliveien said the union is worried about an increasing frequency of incidents and that it is time for the offshore safety agency, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), to adopt a more aggressive approach.

He also said that it is too early to talk about the causes of these three separate incidents, but directed a warning to the industry.

The safety authority informed on Monday it launched investigations into incidents on the Songa Endurance rig as well as on the Statfjord A. However, there was no mention of the incident on the Gullfaks A platform.

Safe’s Hilde-Marit Rysst warned that cost-cutting has resulted in less maintenance and employees without training on the drill floor.

Rysst acknowledged it was too early to talk about the causes, but noted that many of its members have been concerned about cuts in maintenance work and fewer workers on the platforms.

Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.com

Please leave comments and feedback below



S92 Emergency – Crew Asked Platform to Check if They Were on Fire

S92 Emergency – Crew Asked Platform to Check if They Were on Fire

Published in Oil Industry News on Monday, 17 October 2016

Graphic for News Item: S92 Emergency – Crew Asked Platform to Check if They Were on Fire

Oil and Gas People reported yesterday that a CHC S92 Helicopter was escorted back to Aberdeen after declaring an emergency while flying offshore. The helicopter landed safely just after 7pm on Sunday evening.

Unusually the helicopter was closely followed ashore by another S92 aircraft operated by Bristow Helicopters.

Oil and Gas People has today learned from two separate sources close to the incident that the emergency was declared after an engine fire warning light illuminated in the cockpit.

We are reliably informed that the flight was a shuttle flight to transport workers from the Franklin Platform back to the Elgin PUQ who were day tripping.

The emergency was declared on route to the Elgin Platform. The helicopter circled the Elgin Platform and asked the HLO (Helicopter Landing Officer) to check for signs of fire. When given the all clear the pilots then made the decision to return to Aberdeen and requested the assistance of a Bristow Helicopter to tail them in as a precaution.

When asked for a statement a spokesman for CHC said: “CHC can confirm one of its S92 helicopters made a precautionary return to base in Aberdeen after a cockpit safety warning light was activated.

“Crew followed procedures and were in contact with air traffic control at all times.

“The aircraft landed without further incident.

“Passengers are safe and have been debriefed and engineers are undertaking a full inspection of the aircraft.”

If you have a story relating to the oil and gas industry that you would like to bring to our attention, please contact our news team in confidence at: news@oilandgaspeople.com

Health & Safety offshore and helecopter flight is no Accident, offshore trade unions  demand  the highest safety standards for workers in this high risk industrial sector

Get protected offshore Join Unite

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Norwegian Report Airs North Sea Concerns


by Mark Huber

– October 15, 2016,


On September 29 the Norwegian oil company Statoil issued the report on its investigation into the April 29 fatal crash of a CHC Airbus Helicopters EC225LP. The helicopter was transporting 11 of its personnel from the Gulfaks B offshore platform in the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) to Flesland. It crashed en route after the main rotor assembly separated from the aircraft in flight, near the small island of Turoy, west of Bergen, killing the passengers and the two pilots aboard and prompting a worldwide grounding of the fleet in June. The ban was lifted by the EASA earlier this month, but it remains in force in the UK and Norway. Investigators for the Norwegian Accident Investigation Board (AIBN) have yet to formally determine the cause of the crash, but the EASA has cleared the helicopter for return to service following replacement of a main gearbox planet gear and a heightened inspection regime.

The purpose of the Statoil report is not to determine the cause of the crash, but to evaluate its own related helicopter commercial and safety policies and to make recommendations for improvement. The findings provide a window into the economic pressures North Sea helicopter operators have been facing in the current depressed global energy environment.

Activity in the North Sea has diminished greatly in recent years. Statoil notes that passenger volume, flight hours and the service fleet have all declined significantly since 2013 in the NCS, with the passenger count dropping to a projected 151,000 this year from 211,000; flying hours shrinking to 19,000 from 25,500; and the aggregate fleet in the region standing at 13-14 from 18-19. Statoil notes that the Sikorsky S-92 was already the dominant helicopter in the region for passenger transport, with only two Airbus H225s in that role, but five H225s flying in the SAR mission. Two main operators service the region, Bristow and CHC. Statoil currently procures helicopter services from Bristow Norway and Integra Leasing (with CHC Helikopter Service a subcontractor) via five- to 10-year extendable contracts with individual contracts for flights from Stavanger, Bergen, Florø, Kristiansund, Brønnøysund and Hammerfest. Statoil’s Norway-based operations and activities represent about half of the helicopter transport on the NCS.

Statoil’s report notes several safety “vulnerabilities,” beginning with its own oversight of helicopter operations. The company notes that its helicopter safety oversight is currently conducted by four experienced people nearing retirement age, making the team “capable but vulnerable.” It further notes that the terms of its commercial contracts with operators might create safety vulnerabilities.

“The investigation team has assessed whether there are sides to the helicopter contracts that can harm safety. Related factors that have been highlighted are how the helicopter contracts are entered into and administered, together with the contracts’ conditions regarding how much time can pass between flights, and the consequences of delays. An additional factor concerns the helicopter operator’s “economic and financial condition.” The latter appears to be a direct reference to CHC, the operator of the accident helicopter, which filed for bankruptcy six days after the crash.


The report goes on to state, “The contracts specify that the helicopter operators do not receive payment in full if the transport services are delivered too late or are not delivered at all. The definition of ‘too late’ and ‘not delivered’ varies from contract to contract: for example, a service may be classified as ‘too late’ if it is delayed by more than two hours, whilst a service may be classified as ‘not delivered’ if the delay exceeds eight hours. The price for a service cannot be reduced if the delay or ‘non-delivery’ occurs as a result of weather or factors on Statoil’s side.

“Several of the individuals that the investigation team has spoken with have questioned whether the ‘penalty’ regime may negatively affect helicopter safety. Some have maintained that the system can contribute to stress amongst pilots and mechanics, and therefore increase the risk of making mistakes or ‘stretching it too far.’ Further, it has been pointed out that work operations can be disturbed if resources are redirected in order to avoid a penalty. It has also been indicated that requirements for shorter turnaround time and fewer reserve helicopters will lead to an increase in the total number of potential delays, and therefore also an increase in the total number of situations where the aspects of the penalty regime mentioned above may occur.” The report recommends devising alternate means to encouraging punctual service that do not jeopardize safety.

The report notes that new contracts in the region were to cut the turnaround time between flights from 60 minutes to 45 and in some cases 30 minutes and questions whether that provides adequate time to conduct the necessary safety checks, including checking the onboard Hums for vibration measurements. In light of the Turoy accident, implementation of these truncated turnaround times has been postponed. Upon analysis, the report dismisses any potential negative safety consequence of shorter turnaround times, but does acknowledge, “It cannot be ignored that shorter turnaround time, in combination with other factors, may possibly still contribute to negative effects. Shorter turnaround time can, for example, result in more frequent potential delay situations that, again, may result in the possible negative effects of the penalty system occurring more often.”

The report goes on to note how myriad safety sins caused by an operator’s weak financial condition might manifest themselves. Initially underpricing the contract constitutes “a risk when carrying out the contract, for example if the price indicates poor quality of services or constitutes a risk to the helicopter operators’ financial position.” Statoil seems to at least tacitly acknowledge its role in CHC’s demise, when it states, “During the contract period Statoil can make commercial dispositions that affect the helicopter operators’ financial position, including cancelling the contract or renegotiating the rates. A reduced need for helicopters, combined with a need to reduce costs, has led to an increase in the scope of such dispositions in recent years.” Statoil seems to understand how these economic pressures can conspire to create a less than optimum operational safety environment, acknowledging “the relationship between reduced reserve capacity, increased use and flight time for each individual helicopter, a greater degree of ‘cannibalising’ parts (also known as ‘robbery’ of parts from helicopters needing more extensive maintenance, to supply other helicopters with more pressing needs), a challenging parts situation, a system with compensation in the event of delays and reduced turnaround time. The question, as many have formulated it, is ‘When are you stretching it too far?’

“The NCAA (Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority) has expressed concern that a weak economic position and reduction of helicopter operator personnel can lead to the withering of a safety culture. The (Statoil) investigation team believes that some of these points can be addressed by introducing more stringent minimum requirements in the contracts, to prevent positions related to long-term safety-related work from being cut down.”

Statoil concludes that it must regularly “conduct a holistic assessment in association with helicopter operators in order to improve understanding of the relationship between technical and commercial factors that, either individually or combined, can affect safety.”


Safety and operational directive – Airbus Helicopters EC225LP and AS332L2 – Limitation of all operations in the Kingdom of Norway due to fatal accident on the 29th of April 2016



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