Struggling Brazil Oil Giant Shedding Helo Contracts

By Staff Writer | October 22, 2015

Brazil's largest energy production company is dropping helicopter transport services amid financial woes. U.S.-based Era Group Inc. announced recently that Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., also known as Petrobras, planned to cancel an ongoing tender process for 10 heavy and medium helicopters, citing macroeconomic troubles and the worldwide oil-price slump. Era’s Brazilian joint venture, Aeróleo Taxi Aero S/A, would have likely operated eight of the helicopters—four EC225s and four AW139s. That venture currently has contracts for 10 helicopters serving Petrobras, including a contract for three EC225s set to expire this November. Era said that failure to extend this contract may result in “potential headcount reductions of pilots and shore-based personnel.” Other transport companies with Brazilian divisions serving Petrobras include Erickson Inc., Bristow Group, CHC and Greenwich Aero Group. Petrobras, which controls roughly 90% of oil and gas production in Brazil, currently is recovering from the effects of a contract inflation scandal, and is the target of lawsuits from investment firms such as Pimco that claim the Petrobras downplayed its financial troubles.

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