Dancopter thrives in North Sea

 - February 8, 2008, 6:33 AM

Having apparently found a sweet spot in serving the offshore oil market, Denmark-based Dancopter has grown fast since it started operating helicopters in 2003. On the heels of its success, the company is planning to expand its fleet, service area and service offerings. According to managing director Nil Skeby, the company operates four pre-owned Eurocopter EC 155B1s, the last having been delivered in December 2007. Two new EC 155s will be delivered next year.

Dancopter flies to six oil platforms from its bases in Esbjerg, Denmark and Den Helder, The Netherlands. The company will add a base in Ireland on April 1. Customers include Shell, Chevron, Gaz de France, Dong Energy, Hess ApS and StatoilHydro, according to Skeby. The Irish base will be used to support the last company. Dancopter, now owned by Norwegian firm Helinor, was founded on the notion “that there was a need for another helicopter operator in addition to the big, well established ones such as CHC, to serve smaller customers,” Skeby noted.

Skeby emphasized that the company focuses on offshore oil transportation and does not intend to expand into other services.

Dancopter has expanded its workforce to 55, consisting of 25 pilots, 15 maintenance technicians and 15 administrative staff; 22 of those employees came on board last year. As a result, it is focusing on integrating new employees into the company culture. A new pilot will thus fly with an old one; a new mechanic will work alongside an old one. Skeby estimated that it takes about one year for new recruits to assimilate to Dancopter’s company culture. Skeby is planning to add up to four employees this year.