Cairn upsets seismic contractors over Polish bias

Vol 16, PW 19 (18 Apr 13) Exploration & Production

Geofizyka Torun is poised to win a Rs300cr ($54m) 3D contract in Rajasthan amid claims by rival contractors that operator Cairn India has tailored the tender to favour the Polish contractor.

Six companies/consortia bid on February 19 to shoot 1500-sq km 3D at RJ-ON-90/1: Global Geo Services from Norway; Geofizyka; Houston-based Geokinetics; Kazakhstan Caspi Shelf (KCS); Azimut Energy, also from Kazakhstan; and a consortium of Kazakhstan-based Geo Energi and Asian Oilfield. Cairn is evaluating technical bids but has yet to open price bids.

Cairn’s willingness to favour Geofizyka is best explained because it wants to shoot 3D using Vibroseis equipment, an unwieldy machine the size of a bulldozer. Geofizyka is the only company in India to own such equipment.

All earlier Vibroseis tenders have been awarded to either Geofizyka or a consortium of Geofizyka and another Indian contractor. More, Geofizyka is nearby, shooting 3D at Oil India block RJ-ONN-2005/2 so equipment mobilisation costs will be low.

"Other bidders would either have to hire the equipment or buy it,” says a disgruntled rival. Complaints are also high about the high number of tender parameters - nearly 40.

"We don't know what weight will be given to each parameter," says another bidder. "Normally there are only four or five bid parameters.

Only Geofizyka knows the weight of each parameter because it is doing similar work for Oil India in Rajasthan." Cairn amended an important bid criterion during the pre-bid on January 29.

“The original tender capped the Vibroseis equipment age at four years,” says a bidder. “But this was revised to six because Geofizyka’s equipment is five years old.