North Sea

Helicopter firm NHV secures contract with Beatrice wind farm builder

Inside NHV's base in Dyce

Belgian helicopter operator NHV Group has tied up its second North Sea contract in just three weeks.

NHV said today it would provide flights for Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL) to support the construction of the £2.6billion Beatrice Offshore Wind farm in the Moray Firth.

The company, which opened a new terminal in Dyce last year, is mounting a challenge to the North Sea’s three main operators, Babcock, Bristow and CHC.

At the end of January, the Ostend-headquartered firm said it had secured a deal with Ithaca Energy to take workers to and from the Harrier development.

NHV will start working with SHL on Beatrice in the second quarter of 2017.

The 84 turbine wind farm is expected to power about 450,000 homes and is due to be operational in 2019.

It is a joint venture by SSE, with a 40% share, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners on 35% and Chinese power generation company SDIC with 25%.

SHL and Subsea 7 are working together on the fabrication and installation of jacket foundations and array cables for Beatrice.

Offshore installation activities will be carried out using SHL’s heavy-lift vessels, Stanislav Yudin and Oleg Strashnov.

NHV’s base manager in Aberdeen, Jamie John, hailed the new contract win, which builds on a relationship with SHL that dates back to 2013.

Mr John said: “We are very happy to announce the strengthening of our long standing partnership with SHL and support them in the construction of the new Beatrice Offshore wind farm project.

“Our brand new facilities and aircraft will offer a fantastic platform for them to support their operations in the Moray Firth over the next 18 months.”

NHV declined to provide a contract value.

The operator will hire seven contractors to help its 25-strong team in Dyce cover its increased workload.

It also added a third Airbus H175 helicopter to its fleet in Aberdeen earlier this month, while a fourth is expected to follow later this year.

NHV has used the new-generation aircraft as a selling point in its efforts to secure work.

It has promoted them as a more economic and faster alternative at a time when the choice of helicopters has been limited.

The North Sea has been heavily reliant on Sikorsky S92s since April 2016, when a fatal crash in Norway led to the grounding of Airbus Super Pumas.

NHV plans to increase its fleet of H175s to 16.

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