Douglas-Westwood (DW) forecasts $24 billion in expenditure on offshore helicopter services between 2014 and 2018, a 57% increase in comparison to the preceding five-year period. Western Europe will continue to account for the largest share of global expenditure, driven by both the extensive North Sea infrastructure and the preference towards using large helicopters.
Although Western Europe will continue to underpin the market over the forecast period, DW expect faster growth rates in Africa, Asia, Australasia and Latin America. A preference for local providers in some of these markets means that there are many regional specialists. As a consequence, the major helicopter operators have lower levels of participa- tion in these regions, with the notable exceptions of Brazil and Australia.
A major driver for growth in the offshore helicopter services market is the field development lifecycle. In the drilling phase, helicopter requirements are short-term requiring flexibility from the helicopter operator. In the production phase, long-term crew transfer support is required. As production continues to ramp up, particularly in deepwater regions, the drivers for a larger fleet of modern helicopters strengthen.
On a global basis the medium-type helicopter class accounts for close to 60% of total offshore helicopter service expenditure. Western Europe and Aus tralasia are exceptions, as buyers in these markets favour larger helicopters with increased range and carrying capacity.
Bristow and CHC remain the dominant players in the global market with activities in all key operating regions. These companies are focused on securing high value, long-term production support contracts. As a consequence the mature North Sea region continues to be their core market.
The next five years will be an important time for the industry as a new generation of medium-class helicopters such as the EC175 and AW189 are in- troduced. These models are highly efficient with the most advanced safety systems and are expected to perform well in the offshore arena.
However, due to the natural conservatism in the industry, it may take time before a critical mass of orders is achieved.
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Source: Douglas-Westwood, Energy Business Insight – World Offshore Oil & Gas Helicopter Market Forecast 2014-2018