By Staff Writer | January 1, 2008
PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES
China Southern Airlines Co.’s Zhuhai Helicopter Branch has placed orders for additional helicopters from Sikorsky Aircraft to support offshore oil projects in the South China Sea and Bohai Bay in China.
Zhuhai, the oldest operator of Sikorskys in China, purchased two S-76C++s and an S-92A, according to the manufacturer. Zhuhai began flying S-76As in 1984, Sikorsky said, and has used its aircraft since then to support offshore oil and gas operations of such companies as China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), Exxon Mobil, and Phillips.
"The addition will help promote the offshore oil industry in China," said Sikorsky Vice President Steve Estill. "Of the three helicopter operators in China licensed to fly in the offshore oil market, two, Eastern General Aviation Corporation and Zhuhai, are Sikorsky operators. Both are growing rapidly, and it is anticipated that more Sikorsky helicopters will be introduced into China’s offshore market."
CNOOC, China’s biggest offshore oil producer, reportedly plans to more than double production at the Bohai Bay field in northeast China to more than 27 million metric tons, or about 542,000 barrels a day, by 2012-13 as new fields become active there. on stream.
China is the world’s second-biggest energy user and is encouraging its oil and gas producers to increase production to meet rising demand spurred by a surging economy, which is growing at a rate of roughly 12 percent. China’s oil demand was projected to increase nearly 6 percent, to 7.6 million barrels a day, last year, according to the International Energy Agency.