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ERA AVIATION JOINS JOINT VENTURE IN RUSSIAN FAR EAST

 ERA AVIATION JOINS JOINT VENTURE IN RUSSIAN FAR EAST
 ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Two Era Aviation, Inc.


helicopters and an Alaska-based crew are headed to Russia this morning to help their international counterparts explore the potential for oil and gas development on Sakhalin Island.
 Era has signed a contract with Marathon Petroleum Sakhalin, Ltd. to provide support services. Era will work in conjunction with its international affiliate KLM-ERA and the Russian consortium Okha Helicopter Group. Marathon Petroleum Sakhalin, Ltd., acting on behalf of the Marathon-Mitsui-McDermott (M/M/M) Consortium, will drill two offshore appraisal wells this summer as part of a feasibility study on the potential of resource development on the Far East island located just north of Japan. Era's participation marks the first time a U.S. helicopter operator will provide and fly U.S.-registered helicopters in Russia.
 Under the agreement, Era will provide two Bell 212 helicopters, eight crew members, safety equipment and technical training for this equipment to Russian personnel for the Sakhalin Project. The Era crew, working alongside Russian crews, will help transport personnel and supplies between the city of Okha and an offshore rig which will drill at two sites located 60 and 145 miles to the southeast. The rig is expected to operate from July 1 through October of this year as part of an extensive effort to determine the potential of developing the Piltun- Astohskoye and Lunskoye oil and gas fields.
 "Conditions on Sakhalin are almost identical to Alaska and the Russians are turning to companies which have experience with offshore drilling in an arctic environment," said Richard Larew, vice president of Era Aviation, Inc.
 Era began contact with its Russian counterparts more than three years ago and Larew says the company is eager to work with all parties involved to promote the exchange of technical information. In January, the M/M/M Consortium won the rights to work with the Russians on the Sakhalin feasibility study. In March, Marathon contacted Era for help with transportation needs.
 The Consortium's feasibility study will be submitted to the Russian government by December 1992. If the study's recommendations are approved, the M/M/M Consortium could begin work next year on a long- term, multibillion dollar project to develop the area's resources. The M/M/M Consortium and its Russian partners would be responsible for developing not only the area's energy resources, but also for assisting with improvements to the infrastructure such as schools, roads and pipelines to support development.
 The Era equipment and personnel left this morning aboard a Russian IL-76 cargo jet to Anchorage's sister city of Magadan for refueling, then on to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. There, the helicopters will be reassembled and flown on to Okha. Eight Russians are expected to arrive in Alaska sometime later this summer for technical training at Era Aviation's headquarters in Anchorage.
 Era Aviation, Inc., a subsidiary of Rowan Companies, Inc. (NYSE: RDC), was founded in 1948 and has more than 800 employees. The company operates over 100 helicopters in Alaska, the western United States, the Gulf of Mexico, Thailand and The Netherlands and 15 fixed- wing aircraft are engaged in scheduled airline and charter service in Alaska.
 -0- 6/19/92
 /CONTACT: E.E. Thiele of Rowan Companies, 713-621-7800/
 (RDC) CO: Era Aviation Inc.; Rowan Companies Inc. ST: Alaska IN: AIR SU: JVN


SH -- NY019 -- 1891 06/19/92 11:37 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 19, 1992
Words:565
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