Don't expect Wildcat to mobilise anytime soon

Vol 19, PW 23 (28 Jul 16) Exploration & Production

Essar has dismissed rumours that the company has been barred access to its semi-submersible Essar Wildcat by the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore over unpaid bills.

Yet Essar does confirm there will be a delay mobilising the rig to Indian waters to begin her three-year ONGC contract by the August 24 target. "We are trying our best to mobilise by the scheduled date but there will be some slip-ups," admits an Essar source.

"Right now the rig is being inspected for her class certification." Sembawang is allegedly demanding $6m Singapore dollars for work carried out, lay-up and wharfage charges. Until Essar pays up Sembawang is refusing access, a charge denied by Essar.

"The amount you are quoting is way off the mark," says Essar. "Yes we owe money but I cannot tell you how much.

Access is there, we have around 10 people onboard preparing for the ONGC contract." Wildcat, he adds, does not need any major upgrade - she was in good condition after her recent ConocoPhillips and Star Energy contracts off Indonesia. Ever since it won the ONGC contract on February 26 for three years at an ODR of $104,350 rumours have been circulating that Essar is facing a severe cash crunch and will struggle to mobilise the rig.

Essar failed to mobilise the same rig on another ONGC contract back in 2011.