Cougar helicopter flying to Exxon platform forced to return to base after hydraulic pressure issues

In its latest incident disclosure, Canadian offshore regulator C-NLOPB has reported that a Cougar helicopter has returned to base after being hit by an issue with a hydraulic pressure while on its way to ExxonMobil’s platform offshore Canada.

Illustration: A Cougar helicopter; Source: Cougar

According to the regulator’s disclosure, on November 25, 2019, ExxonMobil reported that while en route to the Hebron platform from St. John’s, Cougar Flight CGR151 had an indication of potential pressure loss on one of its redundant hydraulic pressure systems. There were 11 passengers and two flight crew onboard.

The helicopters flown offshore by Cougar have multiple, independent hydraulic systems and can fly safely with one system inoperable, the regulator said.

Flight CGR151 returned to St. John’s and landed safely, with the Cougar SAR helicopter having been dispatched as per Cougar protocols. Local emergency crews were on stand-by in accordance with St. John’s International Airport procedures. These are standard precautionary measures in response to this type of indication.

The regulator said that the helicopter that experienced the incident would be repaired and returned to service.

The Cougar Helicopters Maintenance Manager and Operations Manager reviewed the equipment failure against the Cougar “Safe to Fly” process, and there is no fleet-wide issue.

Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board are aware of the event and the C-NLOPB is monitoring ExxonMobil’s continued investigation.

Discovered in 1980, the Hebron field is estimated to contain more than 700 million barrels of recoverable resources. The Hebron platform consists of a stand-alone gravity-based structure, which supports an integrated topsides deck that includes living quarters and drilling and production facilities. The platform has a storage capacity of 1.2 million barrels of oil.

The platform is located about 200 miles (350 kilometers) offshore Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital St John’s, in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin in water depths of about 300 feet (92 meters). The site consists of the Hebron, West Ben Nevis, and Ben Nevis fields.

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