Offshore wind could provide significant opportunities to helicopter operators

The offshore wind market offers a significant opportunity for helicopter operators, with almost 6,000 turbines to be installed globally over 2018-2022, bringing the global total to 10,000 by forecast-end.

A new five-year forecast released by Westwood Global Energy Group predicts a recovery in the offshore helicopter market after three years of decline.

  • Global utilization will average 59% over the forecast across the medium and large helicopter fleet.
  • This modest rate of recovery has been anticipated by the supply chain and helicopter operators have re-structured and re-organized.
  • Westwood predicts notable changes in geographic focus, a preference for more efficient rotorcraft and new applications for helicopters in offshore renewable energy.

Westwood Global Energy Group, the energy market research consultancy, has published its annual World Offshore Helicopter Market Forecast, covering the period 2018-2022.

Despite a challenging few years, it still sees significant opportunities for the supply chain both in emerging geographies and in renewables.

Global helicopter fleet utilization hit a low of 54% in 2017 due to falling demand and increased supply from orders placed pre-downturn. Oil companies required fewer journeys offshore and as a result, many airframes were put into storage.

In the large helicopter segment, the grounding of the H225 in 2016 resulted in a switch to other rotorcrafts. While restrictions are now lifted, future utilization in this segment will influence market recovery and is dependent on operator preferences for the greater than 100 units that are presently not in use.

Looking forward, Westwood predicts global use to pick up to an average of 59% for the medium and large helicopter fleet.  It expects growth to come from new frontiers such as the Mediterranean, East Africa and Guyana rather than traditional deep-water areas of activity (Nigeria, Angola, U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Brazil). This geographic expansion will require new bases being set up and the re-allocation of un-utilized units.

“It’s clear from the figures that future demand growth for helicopter transfers will come increasingly from outside Western Europe from areas such as the Middle East and Latin America, as well as from renewables, says Steve Robertson, Head of OFS Research at Westwood Global Energy Group.

The offshore wind market also offers a significant opportunity for helicopter operators, with almost 6,000 turbines to be installed globally over 2018-2022 bringing the global total to 10,000 by forecast-end. Westwood expects $119m of offshore wind-related helicopter expenditure over the forecast, with a CAGR of 39%.

The fourth annual Westwood World Offshore Helicopter Market Forecast contains an asset-by-asset analysis of the sector with extensive industry interviews with helicopter manufacturers, owners, managers, operators and leasing contractors to give a complete evaluation of current sector activity and expected the development of the market. It is aimed at private equity firms, operators, manufacturers and anyone looking to invest or divest in this market.

For more information, click here.

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