BP is expected to lodge development applications for a new multi-million dollar aviation base at Ceduna, South Australia.
Earlier this year, BP awarded a $138 million contract to international helicopter company, Bristow Group, to set up an air base at Ceduna to support its initial exploration drilling activities in the Great Australian Bight.
The base will include a new helipad, passenger terminal, hangars and supporting office blocks. An alternate landing strip to the west of Ceduna is also under consideration.
The premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill said the base is an exciting project for Ceduna and will generate construction work for the local area.
“It’s a prime example of how the resources industry is delivering benefits to regional communities, from jobs creation to building new infrastructure or providing new services,” he said.
In addition to supplying aircraft and crews to move people and critical material offshore, Bristow will also manage dedicated search and rescue services.
The fleet will consist of three large helicopters - a Eurocopter EC225, which will ferry workers from shore to BP’s drilling rig 300km offshore, and two Sikorsky S92s. One S92 will be a backup for crew change and search and rescue, and the other will be a dedicated search and rescue helicopter – the first of its kind in Australia.
The base is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2015.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the construction of the air base will align with BP, and joint venture partner Statoil’s, upcoming exploration drilling activity in the Bight, scheduled to begin in 2016 and last for two years.
“This drilling program is part of $5.8 billion earmarked by the oil and gas sector over the next five years for investment expenditure both on and off-shore,” Koutsantonis said.