Halliburton attacks ONGC bid to re-hire Vestfonn

Vol 15, PW 17 (08 Mar 12) Exploration & Production

Halliburton and Greatship are accusing ONGC of trying to favour Baker Hughes in a tender to replace or re-hire well stimulation vessel Vestfonn for three years.

On February 22, ONGC responded to their complaints by setting March 29 as the new bid submission deadline. Tempers flared in January when ONGC received angry letters from Greatship and Halliburton demanding to know why it was delaying the tender by not issuing minutes or fixing a firm bid submission deadline after a pre-bid meeting on November 4.

Halliburton alleged the reason for the delay was that ONGC wants to salvage its current well-stimulation vessel contract with Baker for Vestfonn, which it hired in August 2010 on a three-year contract at $57,000/day for the Mumbai High. ONGC issued a tender to replace Vestfonn in October last year after Baker wrote in to say the vessel needed major repairs to her hull and that her mandatory ‘class certification’ by Norwegian risk management agency Det Norske Veritas (DNV) ends in June this year (2012).

According to Halliburton, ONGC then rejected a Baker request to ‘dry dock’ Vestfonn for four months to do the necessary hull repair work and update her ‘class certification.’ ONGC later received a fresh proposal from Baker on December 15 last year suggesting the vessel could be ‘dry docked’ for three months.

Halliburton protested, saying such interruption is not allowed under ONGC contracts and that any leniency towards Baker would hit Mumbai High production. ONGC’s decision to fix the bid submission deadline on March 29 is being perceived as a victory for Halliburton and Greatship and might mean it has rejected Baker’s proposal once again.

Vestfonn was originally owned by BJ Services, acquired by Baker in April 2010.