Corruption in ONGC Mumbai asset also highlighted

Vol 9, PW 2 (04 May 05) Exploration & Production

ONGCs Assam asset was not the only area to come under the spotlight during Rahas speech.

During his presentation he openly condemned the OSV (offshore supply vessel) and MSV (multi-purpose support vessel) racket in the Mumbai asset. He said that although ONGC has its own fleet of 31 OSVs and three MSVs, tenders are regularly floated to outsource their care and maintenance.

For all kinds of reasons, tenders are repeatedly manipulated, a series of unethical practices came in, and certain contractors with a very doubtful record, are repeatedly engaged to maintain these ONGC vessels, Raha said. More than half are in dry dock for various kinds of repairs and some of the vessels have been lying in dry dock for up to five years without anybody in ONGC bothering to find out what is happening in the dry dock! Astonishingly, said Raha, ONGC officials were themselves responsible for ensuring that ONGCs own fleet remains unavailable! The remaining fleet operates with poor efficiency and you keep on chartering more and more vessels, Raha said.

So it is a double benefit: one by giving contracts to unsavoury characters to run our own OSVs and secondly to charter private OSVs. Quite a few people made a lot of money and at the expense of ONGC.

Raha said that in October 2001 it was discovered that some contractors manning OSVs did not have the necessary qualifications for their job. If any of the vessels go and hit a platform or rig, the insurance will not pay a cent to ONGC, besides the risk to people and their lives, said Raha.

Some of our colleagues were risking the lives of their colleagues to make money through bribes. ONGC then sacked the errant contractors and it was only last November that - after 15 years that ONGCs OSVs resumed rig towing, one of the purposes for which they were bought in the first place.

Today, we have all 30 OSVs back in operation, said Raha. And they are operating at 82% capacity.