Atlantis asks ministry for help in selling to ONGC

Vol 8, PW 3 (05 May 04) Exploration & Production

Atlantis Deepwater of Norway has not lost hope following ONGCs rejection of its untested Artificial Buoyant Seabed drilling technology.

Last month, Atlantis managing director Pal Norheim flew to Delhi and on 22nd April met oil secretary BK Chaturvedi and new joint secretary (exploration) Sunjoy Joshi to plead his case. Atlantis tried to convince the bureaucrats that its technology is path breaking and will cut ONGCs deepwater drilling costs by half, a source present tells PETROWATCH.

Atlantis was shocked to hear that ONGCs deepwater drilling team has rejected its technology. Norheim claimed ONGC was keen to experiment with his technology when they met him in Mumbai in February, says the source.

Atlantis thinks its proposal has been rejected on non-technical grounds. Atlantis claims it was about to ink an agreement with ONGC last February but drew a blank after deepwater drillship Belford Dolphin spud a dry well in the Kutch offshore.

According to the proposed agreement, Atlantis was supposed to provide ABS technology to ONGC at a discount for a trial period. During this trial run if ONGC made a discovery Atlantis would get a percentage from commercial production.

In his meeting with ministry bureaucrats, Norheim tried to sell his technology by saying that the ABS system could do wonders for OVL if applied in Angolas offshore Block 18, where OVL has acquired Shells 50% stake for $600m. Norheim said Shell had been a key contributor towards development of ABS technology and that the region was best suited for its use.

Contacted by PETROWATCH, Norheim confirmed his meeting with the ministry but gave no details. ONGC is unhappy about the Atlantis meeting with ministry officials.

If Atlantis thinks it can pressurise us through the ministry then it should thing again, says an ONGC director. There was no talk of an agreement.

Just because they had two meetings with our chairman it does not mean that ONGC is interested in their untested technology.