Heliport for offshore wind could help struggling North Sea sector

A new concept for a floating helipad to service the offshore wind sector, could help the struggling North Sea chopper industry. With cutbacks in the oil and gas sector, the […]

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By Sumit Bose

A new concept for a floating helipad to service the offshore wind sector, could help the struggling North Sea chopper industry.

With cutbacks in the oil and gas sector, the huge helicopter industry built to support North Sea exploration has also suffered a downturn. But now a new concept for a floating helipad that would help off shore wind development could provide help.

The concept from Norwegian shipping firm Fred. Olsen, is called the Windbase. It is basically an offshore wind specific heliport which can be fixed next to turbine arrays. The floating pad could be used to provide the vital transport links to help the development to wind farms further out to sea.

A study has show there are 64 projects in the European market where the helipad could be used.

David Matthews, the firm’s UK General Manager said: “Of these, 12 have been granted consent so are already in the development pipeline and 19 are likely to be built between 2018 and 2025.

“This represents an enormous potential for the heliport, which provides offshore refueling facilities, enables a safe commuting option for personnel and supports service operations vessels in poor weather.”

Almost 400 helicopters serving oil and gas platforms world-wide are estimated to be idle or underemployed due to the slump in oil prices.