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Petroleum Exploration

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Petroleum Exploration Support


Columbia Model 234 Chinook delivers supplies to a rig site in Papua New Guinea.

The Essential Helicopter For Moving Drilling Rigs

Columbia owns and operates a fleet of Columbia Model 234 Chinooks and Columbia Vertol 107-IIs.

The Chinook is the ideal helicopter for rig move and support operations. With an external lift capacity of approximately 26,000 pounds, the Columbia 234 Chinook can reduce rig transport time dramatically.

Precision placement of these loads at the new rig site can also decrease the reassembly time of the rig and components. For the Chinook and Vertol, the tandem rotor design is more efficient than single main rotor designs because all power is directed towards lift. The tandem design also provides increased stability in crosswinds.The twin engines provide additional aircraft safety.

The Vertol 107-II lifts up to 10,000 pounds and petroleum companies have used it to move drilling rigs since 1971. The Vertol 107 enjoys the same design advantages as the 234 Chinook for remote drilling needs.

Columbia's first rig move was accomplished in Papua New Guinea in 1971. The company returned to this South Pacific country in 1982, and since then has been actively involved in over 160 rig moves in that country. Terrain conditions there range from mountain drill sites at 9,000 feet to jungles sites under 3,000 feet.

In addition to Papua New Guinea, Columbia has carried out rig moves in Indonesia, Peru, Ecuador, Sudan and in the United States. Columbia's global rig move count stands at 265 as of December 31, 2012.

Offshore Chinook Experience

Columbia flight and ground crews operated and maintained two Boeing 234 Chinooks for ARCO during stratigraphic testing in the Navarin Basin of the Bering Sea in 1983. The distance from the base camp in Nome to the Sedco 712 drilling rig was 402 nautical miles. Special internal fuel tanks were installed, giving the Chinook a non-stop range in excess of 900 miles. Columbia's Boeing 234 also provided passenger and cargo rotation on another Alaska project. This project for Amoco operated from the base camp on St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea to the Ocean Odyssey and Sedco 708 rig in the Navarin Basin, where five exploratory wells were drilled. Maximum distance from St. Paul Island on this project was as far as 320 nautical miles.