U.K.’s BMI Starts Norway Routes to Tap Into Nation’s Oil Wealth

BMI Regional expects to carry 40,000 passengers this year from Norway’s oil capital Stavanger to the country’s northern areas as the oil and gas industry expands into the Arctic.

The new routes will connect Stavanger, on Norway’s west coast, to northern towns where companies including Statoil ASA, Total SA, Lundin Petroleum AB and Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA have operations, BMI Chief Executive Officer Cathal O’Connell said in an interview today.

“We have very strong reasons to believe that those numbers are achievable,” O’Connell said in Stavanger. The airline, based in Aberdeen, will increase frequency as demand grows.

Energy producers in Norway, led by Statoil, are expanding into waters off the country’s northern tip to make-up for maturing fields in the North Sea. Norway, which has seen oil production shrink by half since 2000, is expected to increase crude output this year, ending 13 years of declines, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Jan. 15.

BMI will fly routes between Stavanger and the emerging oil and gas cities of Harstad, Narvik and Tromsoe. The airline is owned by Sector Aviation Holdings Ltd., which owns a fleet of aircraft and helicopters targeting the offshore oil and gas industry.

Fly Arctic, a collaboration between companies and local government, has estimated the oil and gas industry could save 400 million kroner annually from direct flights between Stavanger and northern Norway.

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