GSPC issues â€کfloater' tender to replace Essar Wildcat

Vol 12, PW 4 (10 Jul 08) Exploration & Production

GSPC wants to hire a â€کfloater’ for eastern offshore exploration block KG-OSN-2001/3 to replace Essar Wildcat, which is experiencing major problems with its BOP (Blow out Preventer).

GSPC wants the â€کfloater’ to have the same or similar specifications as Wildcat, crucially a 15,000-psi BOP and the ability to drill in 1500-ft water depths. GSPC’s bid deadline is July 17 for the rig, which it wants for a minimum two years, in the clearest indication yet of a desire to replace Wildcat permanently.

Well-placed sources at GSPC confide that Dubai-based Essar Oilfields Services has failed to give a timetable for repairs and resumption of Wildcat’s operations at the block, forcing the company to look elsewhere. Wildcat spud well KG#19 on May 2 but shortly after BOP problems forced a drilling suspension and Wildcat’s redeployment to a Singapore shipyard for repairs.

“Sometimes they (Essar) say it will take four months,â€‌ complains GSPC. “Other times they say six months.

How long can we keep waitingâ€‌ Wildcat was the first â€کfloater’ mobilised at KG-OSN-2001/3 to drill in deep water areas of the block, where GSPC is nearing the end of its exploration phase. “We are running out of time on this block,â€‌ adds a source.

“The exploration phase ends in September next year.â€‌ GSPC thinks it unlikely the DGH or the oil ministry will grant an extension.

“We have no option but to look for a rig and re-start drilling at the other locations that were lined up for Wildcat,â€‌ adds GSPC. Drillers believe GSPC’s timetable is too tight.

“GSPC wants the rig mobilised in October,â€‌ says one driller. “This will be difficult.

The earliest availability is first quarter 2009.â€‌ GSPC’s biggest problem, say drillers, is the 15,000-psi BOP stack.

“There are hardly any â€کfloaters’ with this available,â€‌ he concludes. Should GSPC find one, drillers predict it will have to pay between $350,000 and $400,000 per day.