PLC warned that an extended grounding of supply helicopters could have a "major impact" on energy operations in the North Sea, as producers attempted to find alternative aircraft and ships to ferry crew and equipment.
More than half the helicopter fleet used to supply oil and gas platforms in British North Sea waters remained grounded Tuesday as operators imposed a voluntary freeze on using Super Puma helicopters, following a fatal crash on Friday. U.K. air-safety authorities continued to investigate the accident off the Shetland Islands coast, which claimed the lives of four oil workers.
Super Pumas, which are made by the Eurocopter unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., EADSY +0.33% continued to fly to platforms in Norway and Australia. EADS shares closed at €43.78 ($58.53) in Paris on Tuesday, down 1.6%.
Offshore operators plan to share the remaining helicopter fleet and suspend routine work. Industry group Oil & Gas UK said the suspension would cause delays and flight backlogs, and could have adverse effects on offshore activities in the North Sea, a major oil-producing region. The area is home to Brent crude oil, the global pricing benchmark.
BP, one of the North Sea's largest operators, said there was no immediate risk to oil production from its fields, which pump 100,000 barrels of oil a day from U.K. fields. But a spokesman said a prolonged suspension of the workhorse Super Pumas could have a "major impact" on offsho...