Norwegian oil major Statoil will no longer be using Airbus’ Super Puma helicopters for its operations following a fatal helicopter accident in April this year.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that the oil company would not resume using the Super Puma helicopters even if the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority lifted the ban introduced on two types of Super Puma helicopters, EC225 and AS332L2, following the accident in April.
To remind, thirteen oil workers, flying from Statoil’s platform offshore Norway, were killed in the accident that happened at Turøy, near Bergen.
“We have no plans to use this helicopter ever again, even if Norwegian authorities decides to lift the ban,” a spokesperson for Statoil told Reuters.
The temporary flight suspension on Super Puma helicopters was lifted by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in October but remained in place in Norway and UK.
Offshore Energy Today recently reported that Norway was being pressured by the surveillance authority ESA, in charge of making sure Norway’s agreements with the EU are being followed, to lift the ban.
Norwegian trade union Industri Energi opposed the lifting of the ban saying it wold be “completely unacceptable.” The union demanded the ban to remain in place until conclusions by the Accident Investigation Board Norway’s (AIBN) were complete.
Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Airbus and Statoil seeking confirmation of these reports.
In an emailed response, Statoil’s spokesperson confirmed the company had no plans of using the Super Puma model in the future. “Statoil has since the suspension replaced the model with the Sikorsky S-9,” the spokesperson added.
Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters CEO, said: “Airbus Helicopters takes note of Statoil’s safety concerns regarding helicopter offshore operations. I regret the timing of Statoil’s comments during a difficult time for the offshore community as a whole, at a time when we are working with the Norwegian Authorities and investigation team to address the specific concerns regarding the return to service of the H225 and AS332 L2 in the region. We also continue to work with customers worldwide to ensure the safe operation of the more than 120 helicopters of the H225 and AS332 L2 family flying today.”
The article has been updated with a statement from Airbus Helicopters.
Offshore Energy Today Staff