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Cougar Returning To Yhz

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Chopper company landing in N.S.

Cougar Helicopters gets deal with Deep Panuke project

By TOM PETERS Business Reporter

Tue. Jan 6 - 7:16 AM

Cougar Helicopters is returning to Halifax.


The St. John’s, N.L., company has won a long-term contract with EnCana Corp. to support the Calgary company’s Deep Panuke gas project near Sable Island.


Hank Williams, base operations manager for Cougar in St. John’s and the person who will oversee the Halifax project, said Monday the contract requires Cougar to be operating in Halifax by May 1.


The deal lasts about 10 years.


Cougar will operate one aircraft, a 19-seat Sikorsky S-92 helicopter that will be used for crew changes and taking materials to EnCana’s drilling operations.


The contract will create about 23 jobs, which will include flight crews, engineers and support staff.


The $750-million EnCana gas project, about 175 kilometres from Nova Scotia, will continue development this year and is expected to be producing about 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day by late 2010.


Mr. Williams said Cougar plans to invest about $4 million in a new hangar likely to be built near the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.


Construction of the facility, which will be about 40,000 square feet and will be able to house three large helicopters, is expected to start within the next 18 months.


The company now leases space at the airport.


Cougar officials are expected to meet with Halifax International Airport Authority people within a week to discuss a land lease. Land is available.


Cougar left Halifax about three years ago because of a lack of work, Mr. Williams said.


"But now, with a long-term contract, it will allow us to go back and set up our own facility and, of course, be more aggressive for additional work."


There are other offshore projects planned that could potentially generate work for Cougar.


Canadian Superior plans to drill an exploratory well near Sable in October and Bass Enterprises Production Co. of Houston also has plans to drill an exploration well about 200 kilometres southwest of Halifax late in the year.


Mr. Williams said Cougar will begin preparing its Halifax operation in mid-February.

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