More Vashishta delay as monitors direct ONGC

Vol 19, PW 4 (22 Oct 15) Exploration & Production
     

Don’t expect an outcome anytime soon in ONGC’s keenly-watched $100m tender to install subsea facilities at the eastern offshore deepwater Vashishta and S1 fields.

PETROWATCH learns ONGC’s Independent External Monitors (IEMs) on October 13 directed the state-owned explorer to get legal advice on TL Offshore’s appeal against its disqualification. Under scrutiny is the Malaysian company's work experience certificate submitted that cites a similar project executed for Petronas.

But it turns out the Petronas assignment was subcontracted by TL to SapuraAcergy – a 50:50 joint venture between TL’s parent SapuraKencana and Subsea 7. And here’s where it gets tricky - Subsea 7 is also bidding in this ONGC tender and has cited the same contract as its qualifying work experience! “The monitors want to know if this violates ONGC’s Integrity Pact which prohibits cartelisation and unfair commercial practices,” says a source.

TL argues it is wrongly accused of cartelisation. “SapuraAcergy was set up well before Acergy and Subsea 7 were merged (in June 2010),” he says.

“It’s unfair and incorrect for anybody to say SapuraAcergy is a subsidiary of Subsea 7 and that TL Offshore cannot cite the Petronas project as prior work experience.” Another source believes the matter is not so simple and will be difficult for ONGC to resolve.

“I don’t think ONGC has faced a similar situation before,” he says.