Wireless 2D sparks Oil India tender suspicion

Vol 19, PW 19 (02 Jun 16) Exploration & Production
     

Depending on who you ask, Oil India's decision to demand wireless equipment in its latest 2D tender is either a conspiracy to give the job to Asian Oilfield or a practical response to geographical conditions.

At stake is a May 11 tender to shoot 2633-lkm 2D across unexplored areas of the northeast under a government programme and where bids are due on June 21. Oil India has split the work into two areas.

Under Area 1, bidders must shoot 870-lkm 2D across the Assam-Arakan basin, parts of Arunachal Pradesh and the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra River. Under Area 2, Oil India wants to shoot 1763-lkm 2D across Mizoram and Tripura.

But some are suspicious of Oil India's condition that bidders must shoot seismic using a 24-bit cable-less system with a real time monitoring feature. "This condition is obviously designed to favour a particular company," alleges a seismic contractor.

"Asian Oilfield is the only contractor in India with wireless equipment." OilMax promoter Kapil Garg, he points out, is buying Asian. By chance Oil India is also partnering OilMax at two Myanmar blocks.

Naturally conspiracy theories blossom. But a senior Oil India source flatly denies any favouritism.

"We've asked for cable-less equipment because the work is in difficult terrain," he says. "It's easier to work with wireless equipment than lay cables.

Anyone with concerns can raise them during the pre-bid."