COLUMBIA Helicopters is set to place two extra helicopters to service the oil and gas fields within the Papua Basin in PNG.
The two Columbia Model 234 Chinook helicopters will each work on petroleum exploration operations, flying entire petroleum drilling rigs piece by piece over rain forests.
The choppers are made to airlift very heavy loads in a net and hooked onto a strong rope suspended from under the chopper and carry cargo onboard.
Each aircraft will have five to six crew members.
One Chinook will work under contract to Oil Search Ltd, which is already utilising a Columbia Chinook and a Columbia 107-II Vertol at their Southern Highlands base in Moro.
Oil Search has 34% stake in the PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, operator of the Kutubu oil fields and is continuing exploration work in the Gulf, Western and Southern Highlands provinces.
The second Chinook will work under contract to Talisman Energy, which is exploring for oil and gas in the Gulf province, and in partnership with Oil Search in some licences.
Talisman Energy is a global, diversified, upstream oil and gas company, headquartered in Canada.
Talisman’s three main operating areas are North America, the North Sea and Southeast Asia. It is hoping to build the third LNG project in PNG after ExxonMobil’s PNG LNG project and InterOil’s LNG project.
Talisman has also bought into exploration arrangements with Horizon Oil and New Guinea Energy in the Gulf and Southern Highlands provinces.
Both have signed big spending farm-in agreements, in which the Canadians will pick up the running to find about five trillion cubic feet of gas in support of a potential LNG project producing two to three million tonnes annually.
“We are pleased that Oil Search and Talisman Energy appreciate our services to the point that each of them has decided to expand our contracts,” Columbia Helicopters president Michael Fahey said.
“The petroleum industry has long recognised the Chinook’s incredible lifting capacity which made it the ideal aircraft to support exploration activities.”
Both Chinook helicopters will be configured exclusively as an external lifting machine capable of carrying
loads of about 26,000-pounds.
“This capacity greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to disassemble and then rebuild the drilling rigs, and allows for precision placement by the highly-skilled pilots,” Mr Fahey said.