Mar 11, 2022

How Helicopters Play a Pivotal Role in Offshore Drilling and Wind Farm Maintenance

How Helicopters Play a Pivotal Role in Offshore Drilling and Wind Farm Maintenance

Helicopters are key tools in the energy industry, used in the installation and maintenance of power lines, as tools to inspect and monitor infrastructure, and as transportation for crews maintaining the country’s energy grids in remote locations.

Helicopters are also crucial to the offshore energy industry, serving as a key means of transportation for crews working on offshore oil rigs and, increasingly, offshore wind farms.

Helicopters have been supporting the offshore energy industry since the 1940s, when Bell helicopters first transported oil exploration crews throughout southern Louisiana and into the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, helicopter operators have played a pivotal role in the discovery of offshore drilling locations, as well as the installation, maintenance and upkeep of the country’s many offshore oil rigs and wind farms.

Helicopters are widely used throughout North America, the Asia-Pacific, Europe, South America, the Middle-East and Africa to support drilling operations. Helicopters are used in production, relocation and decommissioning of offshore energy facilities, and the construction and maintenance of wind turbines.

As helicopter companies continue to innovate in supporting the payload, range, speed, safety and economics needed for deepwater exploration and development, helicopter offshore drilling is expected to grow at a fast pace in the coming years.

The market for offshore helicopter services is expected to grow significantly between 2020 and 2025.

According to a recent report, the market for offshore helicopter services is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, alongside a greater urgency for deepwater offshore exploration and development. As the demand for crude oil grows around the world, and as shallow drilling continually fails to meet needs, helicopters will play an increased role in sourcing and developing energy infrastructure farther from land.

helicopter hovers above offshore wind turbine

In the wind sector, helicopters are mainly used for transferring crew to wind turbine platforms for maintenance. As the offshore wind power industry moves toward deeper and harsher environments, the demand for wind turbine maintenance activity is expected to rise. In turn, offshore helicopter services will become increasingly necessary for sustainable energy development off our coasts

The report also cited that recent sustainable energy development in the Mediterranean, Guyana and East Africa will drive these demands, creating an opportunity for service providers like Helicopter Express to expand their market presence: Where many early offshore wind farms were installed close to land and were accessible by boat, newly built wind farms are located much farther from shore.

While the offshore wind power industry has historically been dominated by European and North American companies, Asian countries, like China, Taiwan, and India have also announced plans to develop a rigorous domestic offshore wind sector, driving the geographical expansion of these helicopter needs.

Because helicopters are fast, agile and more economical than boats, helicopter travel proves a far safer and cost-saving means to transport crew members to and from these new installations. Accordingly, the offshore wind industry is expected to register the fastest growth in offshore helicopter services in the coming years.

Offshore helicopter services will increase in value as much as $1 billion before 2030.

Current demand for offshore helicopter services is so great in the sustainable energy market that, by some estimates, the value of helicopter fleets servicing the offshore wind market will increase as much as $1 billion between now and 2030.

According to a report by Air & Sea Analytics, demand for offshore helicopter flying will be driven by an expected 467 new wind projects before 2030. In total, these wind projects will generate 267 gigawatts of electric power for energy grids around the world, a substantial increase over the 33 GW currently produced by existing offshore wind farms.

These new projects, aided by helicopter services, represent a combined estimated investment of more than $500 billion, according to the report. New development in offshore energy “will establish offshore wind as a major industrial activity in its own right. It is already attracting some of the world’s largest equipment manufacturers and engineering contractors,” the report stated, maintaining that the largest demands for wind power over the next decade will come from the U.S., U.K., and China.

Contract Helicopter Express for your offshore helicopter needs.

airbus helicopter

Few tools are equipped to meet the infrastructure and construction challenges in advancing offshore energy in the United States like the helicopter, and Helicopter Express is ready to meet these utility demands.

Helicopter Express maintains a diverse fleet of helicopters for utility and energy construction, and we employ a tried and experienced staff of pilots who routinely work with municipalities, energy authorities, and utility companies on infrastructure projects across the country.

If you’re interested in learning more about our varied helicopter services, contact our Atlanta-based helicopter experts today.

Make us your go-to team.

Our highly skilled pilots have the experience and equipment needed to rise to any challenge. When you need experts you can trust, give us a call.