Uncertain response to onland 3D tender from ONGC

Vol 10, PW 7 (27 Jul 06) Exploration & Production

This months ONGC tender for onland 3D seismic might be the largest ever of its kind but first indications are that seismic contractors are lukewarm.

Tender documents have been available since 11th July and the last date to fill them in is 31st July. But by 20th July no service provider had purchased the paperwork.

Lack of enthusiasm reflects the general cold response of late to ONGC seismic tenders among contractors. The number of companies wanting to do business in India and particularly with ONGC is going down, one contractor tells us.

Veritas, for example, wont be bidding. Says a source: Veritas lost a lot of money to ONGC last year and is still upset.

ONGC, it seems, cashed a bid bond of $110,000 from Veritas because the US firm could not confirm availability of the vessels that it offered when ONGC was ready to place the order. Contractors believe ONGC needs to abolish several antiquated terms and conditions if it wants to attract more competition.

Its impractical to ask for a bond with the bid documents, we hear. Cairn Energy, Reliance and GSPC do not ask for bid bonds, says one contractor.

They ask for performance bank guarantees. Bid bonds given to ONGC must be valid for 60 days.

In the present busy market how can any contractor be certain of not getting another order during that period we hear. Does ONGC expect us to keep our resources idle for 60 days in anticipation of an order from them Other companies, it seems, take decisions much quicker than ONGC.

Discussions with ONGC for this tender began in March or April, we hear. It has taken ONGC so long to get a tender out.

Is ONGC aware of how quickly other operators finalise tenders Contractors stress that seismic tender conditions and payment terms are better with other companies. Why should any company spend money even to buy the ONGC tender documents unless they are absolutely sure theyll not get another order during the validity of the bid bonds