Norway’s energy minister has said oil and gas activity may be hit by a lack spare parts for S-92 helicopters.
The country, which uses the chopper near-exclusively in its oil and gas sector, is particularly exposed to a global shortage.
Responding to a written question in the Norwegian parliament, Minister of Oil and Energy Terje Aasland said several measures are being worked on, but “activity must give way if there is insufficient helicopter capacity”.
Mr Aasland said the government is in talks with S-92 manufacturer Sikorsky.
It is also seeking to increase helicopter capacity on the Norwegian shelf and is assessing the introduction of different helicopter types, though Mr Aasland noted this would not relieve immediate pressures.
The minister is also seeking cooperation on which activities should be prioritised should helicopter capacity be insufficient.
Several S-92 helicopters have been grounded around the world amid the scramble for spare parts, particularly linked to gearboxes, with more expected to follow.
Recently the oil and gas trade body IOGP warned of a “serious and deteriorating supply chain situation” over the issue and operator Bristow said it was harming profitability.
Norway is reliant on the S-92 as its only main helicopter type following a 2016 crash involving a Super Puma off the island of Turoy.
Trade union Industri Energi has been saying for years that the reliance on one type of helicopter has gone on too long and any major incidents could “paralyse” the industry.
Britain faces similar challenges as the S-92 is its only “heavy” and making up nearly half of the total fleet.
However the UK also has several “medium” choppers servicing it with the H175, AW169 and AW139 rounding off its more diverse fleet.
In November, Air & Sea Analytics director Steve Robertson said the parts issue has already had an impact on helicopter operators in the North Sea throughout 2023.