Petrobras may take cues from the airline industry to reach its new, yet-to-be-drilled offshore oil fields that are too far away for helicopters currently in use. The company says helicopters currently available aren't sufficient to tackle the logistical problems, they are too small (want more than 24 seats) or even don't have the range needed for a round-trip emergency (300km one-way). And boats are far too slow.
The answer the company is still exploring is an artificial "island", which would work similarly to airline hubs, shuttling passenger to this hub, first with boats, and then to various different platforms with helicopters. As many as 11 different platforms would need this island and the hub would also serve as storage for parts, so that they are closer to the platforms. Ferrying people with boats also creates operational challenges, like loading and unloading people and cargo in high seas, which the company is exploring solutions.
Source (Port. only)
This pre-salt development is looking more exciting than I anticipated. What I'm wondering is why they can't use a CH-53 or even a V-22 Osprey. They have the legs and they can carry plenty. . . are they too heavy for platform ops, too big, or too expensive, perhaps?