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Helicopter operator CHC Group eyes U.S. Gulf skies

William Amelio president and CEO of CHC Helicopter, gives an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange January 21, 2014. REUTERS
William Amelio president and CEO of CHC Helicopter, gives an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange January 21, 2014. REUTERS

By Swetha Gopinath

(Reuters) - Newly listed CHC Group Ltd , which provides helicopter services to offshore oil and gas sites, intends to enter the Gulf of Mexico as drillers venture further into deep and ultra-deep waters, its chief executive told Reuters.

The company, which operates about 240 aircraft in roughly 30 countries around the world, will enter the U.S. Gulf by either applying for an air operator certificate or through an acquisition, William Amelio said in an interview on Tuesday.

"It is clear that the Gulf of Mexico is a great opportunity and we will be there shortly," he said.

Recent technological advances and new discoveries are spurring renewed interest in the Gulf of Mexico, where activity tapered off following the Macondo oil spill in 2010.

Amelio estimated it would take about 18 months for the CHC Group to enter the U.S. Gulf "organically."

CHC Group, whose majority shareholder is private-equity firm First Reserve Corp, also offers search-and-rescue operations and helicopter maintenance services.

CHC Group shares closed at $7.24 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, valuing the company at about $561 million. The shares have slipped roughly 26 percent since their January debut.

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore)

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