Seahawk acquisition helps Hercules in India

Vol 14, PW 17 (24 Feb 11) Exploration & Production

Hercules Offshore has never been a major player in India’s offshore rig market but its February 11 acquisition of Seahawk Drilling could give it the courage to bid aggressively in several imminent ONGC tenders.

Houston-based Hercules has just two rigs working offshore India: Hercules 258 and Hercules 260, both on three-year contracts with ONGC. Seahawk, also based in Houston, has no rigs in Indian waters, but Hercules could offer a Seahawk rig in an ONGC tender expected in about a month to hire a mat-supported rig to drill High Pressure/High Temperature wells in water depths of 150-feet for three years.

“All Seahawk’s rigs are mat-supported and can drill in water depths up to 300-feet,” reports a source. “With the Seahawk fleet at its disposal, Hercules can offer tough competition in this (ONGC) tender.

” Other likely bidders will include Aban Offshore, Transocean and Essar Oilfields. ONGC should be ready to pay around $80,000/day for this rig.

Hercules might also offer a Seahawk rig in a separate ONGC tender to hire an ultra shallow water rig that can drill in water depths of 16-feet at the C-1-D site in the North Tapti field and B-1 site in the Gulf of Cambay. There’s a chance it could add another drilling location, but details are as yet unavailable.

Hercules, Deepwater Drilling and Transocean attended the pre-bid on January 20, after the sale of tender documents closed on January 14. Hercules, we learn, wants ONGC to accept quotes for three marine support vessels deployed with the rig even though only two support vessels are specified in the tender.

ONGC is expected to get a quote of under $100,000/day for the ultra shallow water rig and support vessels.