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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 9th May 2010, 07:50
  #3781 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Sign of the times.

Whilst I have just re-registered with PPRuNe (old email no longer exists), I have followed with interest both this thread and its predecessor for many years and have been intimately familiar with the operators in Nigeria since about 1990 and obviously their respective histories.

212man says that the recent Shell decision to go to Caverton/Dancopter is sad news. Is it not a sign of the times? The industry globalised their contracts in the 90's, forcing the operators to keep up or go out of business. This they did and eventually we were left with the two major players, BHL and CHC. Great for them but not so good for the clients because the organisations became very large and difficult to manage. In addition a certain amount of arrogance grew within those two major players. This and the fact that "remote management" does not help where "the rubber meets the road" has not been well received by the industry and we now see that they are turning back the clock.

Proof - The Shell Caverton/Dancopter news - Bond's progressive return into the North Sea, NHV's gradual expansion in Europe and Africa - DanCopters excursion into Den Helder - CHC's ever dwindling position in African operations generally and now we see the same starting to happen to BHL.

There are other emerging operators on the African continent that should not be under estimated. I know of one that has a more functional Q & S system than most of the European operators I am familiar with, "they do what they publish". What is my point? I see it as no surprise that Caverton/Dancopter have been awarded the Shell contract and I will not be surprised to see other smaller more manageable operators being awarded bigger contracts in the future. After all, as well getting a more "personal" service, the oil industry clients will start to get more competition back into their tendering processes. May not be great for the large helicopter operators but the oil industry pays at the end of the day and it's what they want that sets the baseline. Their initial attempt at globalisation has not really worked as they had planned so they are turning back the clock.

I am absolutely sure that Shell's decision has not been taken lightly as all of you will no doubt agree. What we have to read into this is "what is the message that is being sent out to the Helicopter operators in general?"
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Old 9th May 2010, 08:58
  #3782 (permalink)  
 
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What we have to read into this is "what is the message that is being sent out to the Helicopter operators in general?"
Considering some of the goings on we have read about on this exhalted thread with regard to Dancopter, that statement could not be closer to the truth.
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Old 9th May 2010, 09:27
  #3783 (permalink)  
 
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212man says that the recent Shell decision to go to Caverton/Dancopter is sad news
I say that only in regard to the individuals it affects - many of whom I know and have worked with. Most certainly "where the rubber meets the road" there was no arrogance, just engineers and pilots trying their best in pretty trying conditions with poor infrastructure and under-resourcing. The loss of the contract does not reflect on the individuals actually carrying it out - that's the sad thing. It's the same with Humberside and Blackpool with CHC, BIH and Shell North Sea in 1998, BHL and Mobil in 1995 and it will continue to be so.
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Old 9th May 2010, 09:51
  #3784 (permalink)  

Nigerian In Law
 
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Heli488,

While I broadly agree with you, do you know anything about Caverton and their modus operandi ? Are you aware of their pilot and engineer recruiting base, support infrastructure etc ?

The third almost silent partner in this is Gulf Helicopters who are apparently supporting the Lagos State Governement 412EPs.

NEO
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Old 9th May 2010, 11:36
  #3785 (permalink)  
 
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Are We !! news to me shag, but there again being the proverbial mushroom!!

Welcom back NEO

Stace
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Old 9th May 2010, 11:37
  #3786 (permalink)  
 
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Gulf Helicopters in Lagos by means of the back door with Caverton?

Who is wearing pointy toed shoes now days at the Toppest Helicopter company in Nigeria?

Perhaps Bristow should have invested in some of them to maintain parity with the competition!

Did the Ethics in Business mandate cost Bristow the Shell contract?

A curious public wish to know?

Wonder if DanCopter provides Tea and Coffee at no cost to the Operational Staff?
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Old 9th May 2010, 11:43
  #3787 (permalink)  
 
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The third almost silent partner in this is Gulf Helicopters
I heard that too - and the irony was not lost on me!
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Old 9th May 2010, 11:50
  #3788 (permalink)  
 
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Well they will be needing to lease a fleet of vehicles now won't they!

I can refer them to a very good source when they get ready.
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Old 9th May 2010, 12:28
  #3789 (permalink)  
 
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Bristow /Shell Employees

Does anybody know when this new contract with Shell start? Is Bristow going to lay off the pilots and Engineers who now work in Warri.

Some solid information would be greatly appreciated as I am now wondering if I will still have a job with Bristow??
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Old 9th May 2010, 12:45
  #3790 (permalink)  
 
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Dont know about start date, but looking at Dancopters homepage I can count 32 pilots, and would say that at least 20 more are needed to to fly 3 of the 8 helicopters in the contract. So maybe filling in the pilot application scheme is not a bad idea after all.... In this place (Nigeria) I would say that local knowledge is an asset needed
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Old 9th May 2010, 19:21
  #3791 (permalink)  
 
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212man

If it looked like I was refering to the ground troops, nothing could be further from my intention. The arrogance comes from on high, amongst the remote management staff who sit in their ivory towers, pontificating over issues that they have lost touch with.

NEO. I should think Shell know an awful lot about Caverton and their plans. What I know matters not, it's clearly what Shell knows that has turned the tide.

With regard to the people on the ground, many of whom I know too, it is not pleasant having to go through these changes but if you look on the bright side, Shell currently has 6 aircraft that according to rumour are going up to 8. If my dim memory of mathematics is correct that means more pilot jobs, or am I just dreaming. Oh for the good old days when contract awards in Nigeria were fairly predictable and you chose which bunch you wanted to work with. That's before CHC's entry by the way.
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Old 9th May 2010, 19:41
  #3792 (permalink)  
 
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It will be interesting to see whether Caverton or DanCopter or Gulf is the prevalent partner in this unholy trinity. A number of expats and nationals who were employed by Caverton discovered that they were not allowed to make ay decisions themselves, as DanCopter may discover to their cost. Maybe it should be, will Caverton provide free tea and coffee to its staff and will they get paid on time.

For those unfamiliar with the real Caverton:

Central Bank of Nigeria - Non Performing Loans

Scam in Lagos State

The ethics in business mandate referred to by SASless is covered by this article
SEC Report, Bristow Nigeria
I stand to be corrected, but I think the present General manager of Gulf Helicopters was MD of Bristow Nigeria at the time of all this? Maybe trying to even the score now?

With Shell in Nigeria's record of paying money to provide arms for mobile policemen to murder innocent villagers in Ogoniland and their own extensive use of the brown envelope I wouldn't imagine they give a damn about what Caverton's plans are. However, those who live in Nigeria have seen how Shell is pulling in its horns and selling off quite a lot of onshore acreage to Nigerian companies and consortia with Nigerian partners. With elections coming up in Nigeria in less than a year, Shell already having declared force majeure on exports of Bonny light crude for May and June, there may well be a cutback in Shell aviation's plans. Remember the hugely expensive project of Osubi airport (an expensive white elephant which can't even be paying its way), the Dorniers (now consigned to the dust heap of history) and the EC155s (another expensive white elephant, almost totally unsuited for the job for which it was purchased and with probably the lowest serviceability of any helicopter type in Nigeria).

If I was flying an EC155 in Nigeria now, I'd be ready to accept whatever offer comes along from CaverCopter and updating my CV and sending it to as many places outside Nigeria as I could! I'm surprised DanCopter went ahead with this, but their consultant also stood to gain a great deal if it happened. I wonder how thorough his appraisal of Caverton was? I'm sure he was open and honest and DanCopter are willing to overlook a lot in their bid to tap in to what they see as a lucrative market.

Sad times for all those who must now be waiting a different kind of brown envelope from Bristow and interesting times for the NIgerian aviation market with Aero also suffering badly after the recent enforced grounding of their rotary and Dash 8 fleet.

The obvious outcome of all this, is to be careful, very, very careful and think long and hard before accepting any offer of employment in Nigeria. The money may be good, but how long will it continue and will it be paid on time. One recent report after the new PIB was passed into law said that the majority of expatriates in the offshore oil industry would be gone within 5 years (though I don't know how they'll get suitably qualified national replacements in that time - maybe they won't, they'll just have replacements?).
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Old 9th May 2010, 19:44
  #3793 (permalink)  
 
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Heli488,

No, Shell has 6 EC155s, plus 3 S76s, so if all of these are being replaced, the number will go down from 9 to 8. If my dim memory of mathematics is correct that means fewer pilot jobs, or am I just dreaming?
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Old 9th May 2010, 20:16
  #3794 (permalink)  
 
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Have we all forgotten that ****** was the former Chief pilot at Gulf helicopters, and that his simpering right hand man, ***** was also a former employee.

What goes around, continues to come around, and I would personally not be surprized to see more of Gulf Helicopters in Nigeria with these two mixed into the pudding.


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Old 10th May 2010, 04:12
  #3795 (permalink)  

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Heli488,

In accordance with the PIB and it's local content criterion I'm willing to bet Shell had very little to do with this decision based on the 60/40 PSC arrangement. Bristow held the contract for decades, an indigenous firm had to get a foot in the door and the government chose this one.

This was not the contract I would have thought would have gone to Caverton with Shell's reputation for interference in contractors' affairs. My money would have been on Addax; small, still fairly bush and no aviation safety oversight.

Interesting (and sadly painful) times ahead.

NEO
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Old 10th May 2010, 07:24
  #3796 (permalink)  
 
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NEO,

I totally agree and don't think the ADDAX contract will be far behind.

ADDAX actively resist all the attempts by Bristows to improve their safety standards and would welcome a company who doesn't have the same safety ethos.

Since they re-equipped with the AW139 I wonder if Gulf Helicopters still has spare Bells available. If so, they could fit straight into the ADDAX contract and Mobil may also be in their sights.

pstjgw
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Old 10th May 2010, 18:14
  #3797 (permalink)  
 
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NEO,

Interesting point of view, as Bristow is also a 60/40 agreement is it not and, unlike Caverton, both its Chairman and MD are Nigerian. I believe John Goulash is the MD of Caverton after his extensive experience of running a float plane operation for PAAN? AS for Caverton being an indigenous company, it will be interesting to find out (though I doubt we ever will) what percentage of what they make from the Shell contract will remain in Nigeria with Danish and Qatari partners, at least 2 of them with no acceptable Western business ethics. If they're going to fulfil the Nigerian content act, where are they going to get lots of Nigerians on the AW139?

Caverton and Shell fully deserve each other, but Fred will give them every support he can with spare 412s to try and get back at Bristow.
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Old 10th May 2010, 19:42
  #3798 (permalink)  
 
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I was just readiing th enews and saw this interesting little snippet. Any ideas on what they are talking about?

A report by the Committee which investigated the Customs said firms responsible for most Temporary Importation without re-exportation or duty payment include Aero Contractors, Global Pipelines Plus, Panalpina, and Globestar
allAfrica.com: Nigeria: N84 Billion Fraud - Representatives Order EFCC to Probe NNPC, Shell, Total, Others
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Old 11th May 2010, 01:30
  #3799 (permalink)  
 
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CH,

Yes, a number of companies bring in things such as helicopters on temporary import and fail to pay full duty, knowing full well that they plan to keep them here long-term. For example, CHC when they imported their S76s into Nigeria, air-freighted them into Ghana, re-assembled them there and flew them into Nigeria from there under a temporary import permit, with a far lower duty than should really be paid. I'm not sure of the exact figure, but I believe the full import duty on an S76 is about $1.6 million. I think CHC did this with about 6 S76s which they brought in after their take-over of Schreiner.

I'm sure Caverton/DanCopters/Gulf will be totally above board and pay full duty on all the AW139s they bring in to the country to ensure that they operate in a fully ethical business manner
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Old 11th May 2010, 01:41
  #3800 (permalink)  
 
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Just another bunch of out stretched hands I would suggest....."What do you have for me?"
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