Chopper Problems in Kerteh?

April 20, 2008

An unexpected night offshore (Thursday). Not that I’m complaining too hard, considering my colleague and I had been bounced off Tuesday’s flight, and only got on the chopper to Lawit-A at 3pm on the Wednesday. After a quick stop at Dulang-B for a refuel, we reached Lawit-A at 5pm. We were expecting to leave today at 3, but got bounced of that flight due to max pax. So, we now have additional time to carry out our duties, and maximize our client’s funds.

I understand that the chopper situation at Kerteh has worsened lately. I don’t have hard facts, but I have received the following impression from people on both sides of the heli check-in desk:

  • Veteran local pilots are disgruntled because they are earning less than newly minted pilots hired from Indonesia.
  • Pilots are disqualifying aircraft on minor matters. Possibly this might be a reaction to the above situation. This means there are less than planned aircraft available to shuffle grunts back and forth from the offshore assets, as more have been grounded for repairs due to the above disqualification.
  • There aren’t enough engineers to sign off on the repairs done on choppers. Which leads on to the next point:
  • Apparently there has been en mass resignation of the Kerteh maintenance crew. I assume this is because another transport company is willing to pay more for trained personnel than hire fresh faced staff and having to train them. The only other company I know that may want O&G experienced heli staff is Awan Inspirasi.┬áThe ‘pay more, instantly staff up’ model has been a norm in Malaysia’s oil and gas arena ever since the independent oil producers showed up.

I sympathise with the Kerteh MHS front desk personnel, who have to deal with all the po faced people waiting for seats, slumping all over the waiting room.

This transport crisis also affects production, as staff booked for travel are not doing it for the pleasure of offshore cuisine (though it’s a benefit), but to do work. Engineers need to be ready for these kinds of hiccups, and ensure that we can keep ourselves busy. Oh, and the Awana Kijal is always fully booked now, but that’s another blog.