Cobham Aviation Services Australia expects to put the first of two Avro RJ100s into service between Perth and Barrow Island in April after successfully completing negotiations with Chevron to support the international oil and gas giant’s North-West Shelf operations, reports Chris Milne.
The aviation services contract, described as Australia’s biggest for the resources industry, is based on the $40 billion Greater Gorgon gas project, but the head contract for Chevron’s operations in Australia’s northwest potentially opens up services for other Chevron projects in the region.
These include the $20 billion Wheatstone domestic gas and export LNG project, on which a final investment decision is expected in 2011.
The initial deal, which extends to 2016 and also includes a link between Karratha and Barrow Island, is worth about $170 million but could generate work worth more than $250 million for Cobham Australia.
As first-tier aviation supplier to Chevron, the Australian subsidiary of aerospace group Cobham Plc will sub-contract some local services, including a likely ferry role for Karratha Flying Services.
As the massive Gorgon joint venture of Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell is developed, Cobham will use two 100-seat RJ100s – with the second due to come into service in 2011 – and three BAe 146s, one of which is already operating on the route. The other two will come from Cobham’s existing fleet.
The first RJ100 is due in Cobham Australia’s Adelaide base on lease from British Aerospace in the UK in January for a complete fitout, including new seating described as “business class style” by a spokesman.
Cobham Australia’s chief executive Peter Nottage said the contract added to new work worth more than $200 million secured during 2009, including a five year extension of its overnight freight services for Australian air Express.
The Gorgon deal positioned the company for further growth in the resources sector, he said.
The contract involves strict environmental and quarantine provisions to prevent any contamination on Barrow Island, including special cabin sealing and a quarantine-compliant terminal facility to be built at Perth Airport.