Vasudeva backs ABG in three-rig tender

Vol 16, PW 26 (25 Jul 13) People & Policy

ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva's unwavering support for ABG Shipyard in a tender to hire three jack-ups for five years is causing ripples in industry circles.

ABG was originally disqualified on technical grounds after offering two under construction jack-ups: Hull No. 003 and Hull No.

004 through subsidiary ABG FPSO. But on Vasudeva's insistence ONGC's powerful Executive Purchase Committee (EPC) on July 12 wrote to ABG giving it 10 days to send in clarifications.

“How can ONGC ask for clarifications from a disqualified contractor" questions a source. “Shanker approved the decision to disqualify ABG,” says a source, referring to ONGC director technical and field services Shashi Shankar.

In its submission, the EPC cites ABG’s failure to comply with the Bid Evaluation Criteria and for arbitrarily modifying technical specifications behind its decision. More serious, ABG failed to provide a certified construction and delivery schedule or a vessel construction agreement.

Worse, it failed to submit a certificate from rig underwriters Noble Denton Associates proving its rigs could operate in Indian waters. ABG wrote to Vasudeva on May 16 angrily contesting its disqualification.

Vasudeva referred the complaint to ONGC's drilling department in Mumbai, which passed it to the technical committee. Again ABG was disqualified.

Undeterred, Vasudeva asked the EPC to think again on June 22. In an 'EPC meeting agenda brief' prepared on June 26 his comment is recorded as follows: "Does it matter as long as the information about their (ABG) proposed rig is correct Please have the matter looked into objectively.

" Still the EPC stood firm and on July 4 endorsed its earlier disqualification of ABG.

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