Long-term trends will drive demand for helicopter support of offshore oil and gas operations, CHC Group President/CEO Karl Fessenden said today in discussing the company’s financial performance in its first quarter (which ended July 31). Those trends include forecasted demand increases for crude oil, the growing distance of exploration and production platforms from shore and the rising number of oil and gas field discoveries in deep water. Fessenden pointed to an International Energy Agency forecast that crude-oil demand will rise from 93.5 million barrels a day in 2015’s second quarter to 96.8 million by the end of 2016. He also noted the increase in platforms 150 nm or more from shore in Africa and the Middle East, Brazil, the North Sea and the U.S., and added that more than 60% of offshore field discoveries since 2010 have been in water depths of 3,000 ft or more. “We believe the long-term fundamentals of our business are positive,” Fessenden concluded. That said, near-term volatility in the offshore market has CHC focused on quarter-to-quarter performance. To illustrate the volatility, CHC CFO Lee Eckert pointed to an 18.3% drop in the per-barrel price of North Sea crude oil from June 29 to Sept. 3 (from $62.01 to $50.68). The company’s first-quarter revenue fell 18%, from $461 million in its fiscal 2015 to $376 million in fiscal 2016, while its net loss increased 36% from $34 million to $47 million.