Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras is expected to announce by June the winning bids for offshore helicopter business potentially worth $90 million for new and leased aircraft to transport personnel to and from oil rigs.

This is the second of a three-phase programme that was launched in April 2002 aimed at renewing within five years the domestic offshore helicopter fleet used by Petrobras.

The contract covers three aircraft categories. The first calls for up to three new large helicopters, with Eurocopter's AS332L2 Super Puma as sole contender. The second is for up to six new mid-size types, with Eurocopter's EC155B1 and AS365N3 Dauphin competing against the Bell 412EP and Sikorsky S-76C+. The final bid covers up to 12 used mid-sized types, including the Bell 412, Eurocopter AS365N2 and AS332 L1, and S-76C+.

Once the bid results are announced, the winning helicopter charter companies are expected to place their orders or sign lease contracts during the third quarter, leading to deliveries next year.

Source: Flight International