Shell and other supermajors say ‘no plans’ for return of Super Pumas

 

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Oil supermajors including Shell have no plans to return controversial Super Puma helicopters to service in the North Sea.

The Anglo Dutch giant has confirmed that the aircraft, which were subject to a lengthy grounding following a fatal crash off Norway last year, does not feature in the future of the firm’s UK operations despite aviation watchdogs making moves to lift the flight ban.

It comes just a day after fellow supermajor BP revealed it will not consider a return the aircraft to service until a root cause of the Norway crash, which killed 13 people last April, has been identified.

American multinational ConocoPhillips has now revealed, like Shell, that it has “no plans to return the H225LP and AS332L2 Super Puma airframes to service for any of our operations”.

And French energy giant Total’s UK Exploration and Production arm said Sikorsky S92 helicopters fulfilled its “operational requirements” and that it had “no immediate plans” to bring the Super Puma models back into service.

S92s have played a big part in filling the void left by Super Pumas following their grounding.

The remaining two oil majors who make up the major global players, ExxonMobil and Chevron are not affected by the lifting of the flight ban.

Exxon does not directly operate any assets in the North Sea while Chevron’s contracted helicopter provider does not use affected models.

Both the H225 and the AS332L2 models have been grounded since the crash near the Norwegian island of Turoy in April 2016 despite European aviation watchdog EASA lifting flight restrictions in October.

Norwegian investigators are still trying to identify the root cause of the accident.

A Shell spokesman said: “Shell UK does not intend to use H225 aircraft for our UK operations”

It is understood that the decision not to use the H225s also extends to the sister AS332L2 model.

Shell has refocused its oil and gas portfolio in recent years as part of a global $30billion divestment plan.

Earlier this year, it agreed the sale of a $3.8billion package of North Sea assets, including its interests in nine fields and a 10% stake in Schiehallion to Chrysaor.

The company has also started decommissioning the flagship Brent field in the North Sea.

Meanwhile, US oil firm Chevron has confirmed the lifting of the Super Puma helicopter flight ban will not affect its North Sea operations.

The multinational energy company uses helicopter operator NHV to ferry offshore workers to and from offshore installations on the UK Continental Shelf.

Belgium-headquartered NHV use Airbus’s H175 aircraft so the lifting of the grounding of the H225 and AS332L2s does not impact operations.

The Civil Aviation Authority announced plans for lifting the restrictions on Friday night.

It follows a safety overhaul in the wake of a fatal accident off Norway last year which claimed the lives of 13 people including Iain Stuart from Laurencekirk.

ExxonMobil does not directly operate any assets in the North Sea.

Apache North Sea declined to comment.

Repsol Sinopec said its contracts have been fulfilled using S92s since last year.

A spokeswoman for the firm added: “The company has not discounted the use of alternative airframes in the future, however there are currently no plans to change the type of airframes being used.

“As always, the safety of our people remains our priority. In the event that any change in airframe was proposed, the company would be fully committed to undertaking an assessment which would include appropriate Repsol Sinopec Resources UK Ltd workforce engagement, rigorous checks on engineering and maintenance processes with our aviation provider and review of training requirements, and engagement with Oil and Gas UK to ensure we had the most up-to-date view of other aviation experts, industry specialists, and bodies representing the wider UK offshore workforce.”

Statoil has also reaffirmed its commitment not to use the Super Pumas.

The Norwegian operator said it has removed the aircraft from its contracts.

 


 

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BP will not use Super Pumas until crash probe completed

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BP will not use Super Pumas until crash probe completed

The helicopter has been grounded since 13 people died after a crash over Norway.

Super Puma: Ban lifted by European Aviation Safety Agency in October (file pic).

Super Puma: Ban lifted by European Aviation Safety Agency in October (file pic). CHCBP has confirmed it will not reintroduce Super Puma Helicopters until the completion of an investigation into last year’s fatal crash.

The helicopters have been grounded since 13 people, including oil worker Iain Stuart from Aberdeenshire, died in a crash over Norway in April 2016 but have recently been cleared to return to the sky.

The incident off the island of Turoy was the third fatal crash in the North Sea involving a Super Puma since 2009.

The Super Puma ban was lifted by the European Aviation Safety Agency in October but the helicopters were kept grounded in the UK and Norway.

Last week, plans were outlined by the UK Civil Authority (CAA) and Norwegian authorities to allow them to return to service if new safety conditions are met.

A survey of 2500 offshore workers found nine out of ten were against their return and 65% said they would refuse to fly in one.

 


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Super Puma helicopters cleared to return to the skies

 https://stv.tv/news/north/1393069-super-puma-helicopters-set-for-return-to-north-sea/

Super Puma helicopters cleared to return to the skies

Around nine in ten offshore North Sea workers are against the return of the aircraft.

 OCG Helicopter Poster
Super Puma: Grounded after fatal Norway crash. SWNS

Super Puma helicopters could be set to return to the skies.

They were grounded in the wake of a helicopter crash in Norway last year; the third fatal accident involving a Super Puma in the North Sea since 2009.

Among 13 killed was Iain Stuart, an oil worker from Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire.

The European Aviation Safety Agency lifted its ban in October but authorities in the UK and Norway kept them grounded.

They have now outlined plans to allow the helicopters to eventually return to service, despite nine in ten offshore workers being against such a move.

Iain Stuart: Killed when helicopter crashed off Norway.
Iain Stuart: Killed when helicopter crashed off Norway. 

John McColl, head of airworthiness at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said the decision had not been taken lightly.

“It has only been made after receiving extensive information from the Norwegian accident investigators and being satisfied with the subsequent changes introduced by Airbus Helicopters through detailed assessment and analysis,” he said.

“The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority for both the UK and Norwegian aviation authorities.

Turøy: Blaze after helicopter crashed on island.
Turøy: Blaze after helicopter crashed on island. Reuters / Resized

“We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards.”

Super Pumas will not return to duty immediately and it will be up to individual companies to decide whether they still want to use the aircraft, the CAA said.

If they do, more frequent inspections will have to be carried out and components must replaced sooner. Airbus will also have to partly redesign the helicopter.

CHC has already stopped using Super Pumas, citing a “lack of commercial demand”.

The cause of the crash off the island of Turøy in April 2016 is still unclear but experts believe it was not the result of pilot error and have blamed a technical fault.

A witness less than a mile away from where the helicopter went down described seeing an “explosion in the sky” before the Super Puma “fell to the ground and burst into flames”.

He was able to film its rotor as it span away from the aircraft intact.

Earlier this year a survey of 2500 offshore workers found 90% were against their return and 65% said they would refuse to fly in one again if they did.

series of changes intended to make North Sea travel safer have been introduced in recent years, including seating oil workers by size and installing new breathing apparatus in helicopters.


 Helicopter Safety is no accident if you  travel to work in a helicopter or if  you  are part of  the crew  operating   and working for a helicopter  operator in the UKCS

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We must never forget the lessons of Piper Alpha, says Unite

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We must never forget the lessons of Piper Alpha, says Unite

06 July 2017
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It is 29 years since the Piper Alpha tragedy which killed 167 workers in the North Sea.

The tragedy is all the more poignant, given that Lord Cullen’s subsequent report into the disaster criticised the operator, Occidental, for inadequate maintenance and safety procedures. This coincided with a fall in the price of oil to $30 a barrel and when costs were being scrutinised.

We look now to the North Sea, where jobs are being lost, costs are being cut and the price of oil has plummeted and hope and trust that platform operators have learned lessons from Piper Alpha.

Unite Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty said: “Unite stands in silence today to remember the 167 lives that were lost this day 29 years ago on the Piper Alpha platform and for the families whose lives were ripped apart.

“We join with those that survived the tragedy and who live with the memory of that fateful day and of colleagues and friends lost.

“We also remember individual acts of courage.”

“This is a tragedy that could have been avoided. When costs become more important than safety, the result can be catastrophic.

“We will continue to remember those lost on Piper Alpha, they serve to remind us that corners must never be cut and that the job done by workers in the North Sea is one of the most dangerous around.”

Ends.

Notes to editors

For further information or comment contact Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell on 07810 157920.

Twitter: @UniteScotland
Facebook: UniteScotland

Unite Offshore  @uniteoffshore

Unite Offshore Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/uniteoffshore2015/

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

 


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Offshore Super Puma helicopter ban to be lifted, Airbus plans return to North Sea

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Today 08.07.2017 Energy Voice Reports: “CONTROVERSIAL offshore helicopters look set to return to skies above the North Sea after aviation watchdogs announced plans to lift a flight ban imposed following a string of fatal accidents.”

For the full article click here: https://www.energyvoice.com/uncategorized/144104/offshore-super-puma-helicopter-ban-lifted-airbus-plans-return-north-sea/

Unite is urging all Offshore members and workers to take five minutes to fill out the survey regarding the return of Super Pumas.

Link to survey: http://www.airbushelicopterssurvey.com/

Joint Statement: OCA & Trade Unions to continue talks

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Joint Statement

OCA AND TRADE UNIONS TO CONTINUE TALKS

Following a meeting on Thursday 6th July between the Offshore Contractors’ Association and officials from the GMB, Unite and RMT, both parties have issued a joint statement:

“We have taken part in useful and constructive talks. Both parties have agreed to meet again next week in order to make further progress.”

There will be no further comment.

Paul Atkinson, Offshore Contractors’ Association

Tommy Campbell, Unite

 

Unite is the largest trade union  for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

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