Commercial

Bristow Signs Five-Year Deal with BP For North Sea Aviation Services

By Dan Parsons | June 7, 2019
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An S-92 in offshore service with Bristow Group.

Bristow Group announced a new contract to support BP’s oil-and-gas operations in the North Sea, the first such award the company has logged since declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.

The five-year contract began May 13 and was announced May 31. It calls for Bristow to deliver a “fully integrated aviation solution” to BP plc from bases in Aberdeen and Sumburgh.

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As a result, the company is creating new pilot and crew positions. It will use existing Sikorsky S-92s combined with fixed-wing support provided through Eastern Airways to fulfill the contract.

 

"We recognize BP plc has placed its trust and confidence in Bristow and we are committed to maintaining the highest safety standards every day and at all times, while delivering an efficient and best-in-class solution to help BP achieve their business objectives," said Matt Rhodes, director of Bristow’s U.K. and Turkmenistan oil and gas operations. "This award further builds on Bristow's success in the region, adding to two additional long-term contracts recently secured operating from our Aberdeen hub."

The offshore services provider on May 11 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. All of Bristow's businesses are operating in the ordinary course and are anticipated to continue to do so for the duration of the Chapter 11 process, the company said in financial filings.

On May 15, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas approved Bristow’s motions for nearly $6.3 million in “first-day” relief, including authority to pay employee wages and benefits, vendors and suppliers for goods and services in the near future.

The company has 3,000 employees worldwide, including 558 in the United States, Trinidad, and Guyana who would continue to receive wages and benefits under the "first day" relief. Other than Trinidad and Guyana and Bristow's two Cayman Islands subsidiaries, the Chapter 11 protection would not apply to Bristow's non-U.S. entities.

"As of May 10, 2019, we had approximately $155 million in aggregate cash on hand, including the proceeds of a $75 million term loan from a group of Bristow’s senior secured noteholders that was made prior to filing," Adam Morgan, a Bristow spokesman, wrote in an email. "This level of liquidity is sufficient to run our business, and we expect to maintain sufficient liquidity throughout the restructuring process to maintain our business operations, including paying our employees globally."

Bristow CEO Don Miller said that his company's operations will continue as usual during the Chapter 11 process.

Miller said that Chapter 11 "will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet, achieve a lower and more sustainable debt level and emerge as a stronger company."

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