Optimizing Helicopter Transport of Oil Rig Crews at Petrobras

Fernanda Menezes, Oscar Porto, Marcelo L. Reis, Lorenza Moreno, Marcus Poggi de Aragão, Eduardo Uchoa, Hernán Abeledo, Nelci Carvalho do Nascimento
2010 Interfaces  
Petrobras produces nearly 90 percent of Brazil's oil at about 80 offshore oil platforms. It transports approximately 1,900 employees daily between these platforms and four mainland bases, using more than 40 helicopters that vary in capacity, operating costs, and performance characteristics. Each day, flight planners must select the helicopter routes and schedules that satisfy passenger demands. We developed a system that requires less than one hour to generate optimized flight plans that meet
more » ... erational guidelines, improve travel safety, and minimize operating costs. By using this system, Petrobras reduced its number of offshore landings by 18 percent, total flight time by 8 percent, and flight costs by 14 percent, resulting in annual savings of more than $20 million. Our optimization model is a large-scale mixed integer program that generalizes prior helicopter routing models. We designed a column-generation algorithm that exploits the problem structure to overcome its computational difficulties. As part of the solution method, we use a network flow model to optimally assign passengers to selected routes.
doi:10.1287/inte.1100.0517 fatcat:sdlv2kkpcrhxtj4xrtqe4hegmq