Transocean and Noble compete for ONGC rig tender

Vol 9, PW 1 (20 Apr 05) Exploration & Production

Transocean and Noble Drilling are competing head on for ONGCs long-pending Freddy Goldman rig tender for the western offshore.

On 17th March, ONGC accepted bids from interested companies after a string of earlier postponements. The bids remain valid for 60 days from this date.

Of the half dozen companies that originally bought tender documents 18 months ago, only Transocean and Noble Drilling submitted bids. Transocean has offered three rigs: JT Angel, Harvey H Ward and Roger W Mowell.

Noble has offered Noble George McLeod. Saipem did not submit a bid.

ONGC wants one Freddy Goldman rig to drill in the Mumbai High South in a Petroleum Exploration Licence or Mining Lease area on a three-year contract. JT Angel was the earlier rig on this location.

Transocean is expected to win the tender because it offered three rigs against only one from Noble. Industry sources cant understand why ONGC wants a 25-year old Freddy Goldman rig when newer rigs in the market can fit into any footprint.

This tender was originally floated in January 2004, reveals a source. If ONGC had booked a new rig it would have got delivery by the time a hired Freddy Goldman rig is available under this tender.

Of the 36 Freddy Goldman rigs operational today, 13 would qualify. Saipem has one rig, Transocean has four and Noble has eight.

Global Santa Fe has four and Ensco has nine. But Global Santa Fe and Ensco are unhappy with ONGCs terms and stayed away from the tender.

National Iranian Oil Company also has a Freddy Goldman rig. One allegation is that ONGC favours Transocean.

This is unfair to ONGC, refutes one source (not from Transocean). True, this tender has been postponed several times but interested companies could have used these delays to get organised.

It is not ONGCs fault that companies decide not to bid. Freddy Goldman rigs with Diamond Offshore, Pride, Protexa and Arne Blysted are all on long-term contracts.

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