Sparks fly at ONGC bidders meeting in Mumbai

Vol 7, PW 19 (03 Dec 03) People & Policy

ONGC officials were not the only people Subir Raha confronted during the bidders meeting.

A source present tells PETROWATCH Raha rounded on contractors too. Provocation came from Larsen & Toubro.

We learn a L&T representative complained that ONGC was unfair in re-tendering the contract to construct production facilities at the D-1 field offshore Mumbai. L&T was sole bidder but the tender was scrapped when ONGC found the price 39% higher than its own estimate.

We spent a lot of time and money preparing the bid, L&T reminded Raha. Raha responded angrily, demanding to know how ethical L&Ts business practices were.

Referring to the (unrelated) scrapped four-well platform project, Raha said L&T rejected ONGCs Letter of Intent on the dubious grounds that it was two days late. L&T replied that ONGC does not extend the completion date in turnkey jobs even though it reduces the time for completion because of late LOIs.

Still unconvinced, Raha asked why, if that were so, did L&T unconditionally extended the validity of its bid Raha went on to berate contractors who, while bidding, name sub-contractors they plan to hire for various parts of the contract. Once the contract is in hand, these contractors send in requests to change the sub-contractors.

Dont even entertain such contractors for these kinds of discussions, said Raha. He warned that a serious view would be taken of ONGC officials who do otherwise.

A representative of Stolt Offshore suggested that ONGC club all requirements for rigid and flexible pipes in separate tenders, as the type of barges and other installation equipment needed for each category is different. This suggestion was accepted.

So was a suggestion by another bidder that ONGC draw up its own Health Safety and Environment policy for contractors. Raha closed the meeting with a warning that contractors should not approach him through VIPs for any favours, but could do so for genuine grievances.