Govt official defends controversial tender process for helicopter service in offshore oil fields

Shoon Le Win

An official from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy has said the tender process for providing helicopter transport services in Myanmar's offshore oil fields was carried out in line with the international procedures.

"We have carried out the tender process in accord with the international procedures for choosing a company to provide helicopter transport services in offshore oil blocks. In this process, we also had to seek recognition from the Civil Aviation Department as technological assessment was necessary. Only after technology sector, we have to consider cost effectiveness. We have announced a tender winning company for the three operating oil companies," said Than Kyaw, director (management) of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

Officials from tender winner Malaysia-based Weststar Co held a press conference at Park Royal Hotel in Yangon on August 16 voicing out that despite the company winning a tender to provide helicopter transport services in offshore oil blocks of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, France-based Heli Union Company is still continuing their services instead of handing the reins over.

Weststar Co competed in the tender process to provide helicopter rental services for PTTEP and Petronas operating oil exploration in the offshore oil blocks.

Travira from Indonesia, Weststar from Malaysia, FS from Thailand, Heli Union from France and Bobcock from Australia were tentatively chosen.

PTTEP, Petronas and Total selected Weststar Co out of the five companies as the tender winner. Weststar could offer cheaper prices, better services and the guarantee to start providing services two month earlier than other companies. Weststar Co accepted a letter on September 15 last year informing them that they had won the tender to provide the service.

"Our Weststar Co could fulfill the requirements they demand. We can provide transport services of up to five helicopters. Moreover, one more will be provided free of charge for search and rescue tasks. In the tender, we also offered to build a new hanger at Dawei Airport," said local representative May Thant Zin from Weststar Aviation Services.

The current operator Heli Union Co rents a helicopter for US$500,000 a month. The tender winner Weststar Co has offered to rent helicopter for US$229,000 per month.