The Latin American market in general, and Brazil in particular, continue to be red-hot markets for rotorcraft manufacturers, driven by government sales and the expansion of the regional offshore energy market, especially in Mexico and Brazil. Altogether, the market represents 9.8 percent of global demand–but that number is increasing fast.
In 2009 offshore-energy helicopter operator Bristow Group bought 42.5 percent of Brazil’s Lider Aviação Holding for $174 million. “Bristow is happy with its investment in Lider,” Bristow executive vice president Mark Duncan recently told AIN. “It was a bold and strategic move and it was the right move.”
While the name on the side of the refueling truck might say Air BP, BR Aviation or Shell, what’s inside it at any airport in Brazil all comes from the same source. All discussions of aviation fuel in the country must start with Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), the national oil refiner of Brazil and the official supplier of Jet-A and avgas. Petrobras produces approximately 70 percent of the Jet-A used in the country and imports the remainder in its effort to supply the three major distributors.
Offshore oil and gas helicopter service provider Bristow has secured new contracts for 20 large aircraft that it expects will generate more than $2 billion in revenue. The deals are a combination of new contracts and extensions of current ones in Australia, Brazil and Europe for Sikorsky S-92s and Eurocopter EC225s.
Richard Santulli’s new helicopter leasing venture, Milestone Aviation Group, completed its first deal last month–a contract for two Sikorsky 76C++s for Brazil OGP operator Omni Taxi Aereo. The helicopters will be used to service offshore contracts with Petrobras.
Petroleum Helicopters is negotiating a joint venture with Brazil’s TAM to support the growing Brazilian offshore market. The joint-venture company reportedly plans to begin operations by year-end with Sikorsky S-76s, while the longer-term plans include the addition of the larger S-92.
North Sea operations giant CHC Helicopter has won contracts worth $44 million to provide helicopter service throughout the world. In one of those deals, CHC will provide a pair of Eurocopter Super Pumas to Petrobras, the Brazilian national oil company, for use over the waters off Brazil and Taiwan. In another deal CHC will provide helicopter service to the Taiwanese Coast Guard.
With an eye to expanding markets, CHC Helicopter is extending its presence in Brazil, where demand for offshore helicopter support of the oil industry is growing rapidly.