Afcons and L&T favourites for BCPA-3 project

Vol 16, PW 26 (25 Jul 13) Exploration & Production

Two of India’s leading infrastructure companies look set to battle it out again for a major ONGC offshore construction contract.

Afcons and L&T – already at war in the Mumbai High Court over ONGC’s disputed Sagar Pragati conversion contract – have again emerged as bitter rivals in an estimated $400m contract to set up a new process platform and facilities at ONGC's Bassein gasfield offshore Mumbai. ONGC last week extended the bid submission deadline for the BCPA-3 project at Bassein from July 23 to August 2.

Observers say this was at the behest of Pipavav Defence and Offshore which has yet to firm up a JV partner. Pipavav is expected to partner South Korea’s Samsung and could emerge as a dark horse in the race, according to industry sources.

Most believe the main fight for the contract (which ONGC believes should not exceed $390.77m) will be between Afcons and L&T. Afcons has joined forces with PetroVietnam Technical Services (PTSC) to make use of its shipyard, and possibly Hyundai for transportation and installation, though the alliance with Hyundai could not be confirmed.

L&T on the other hand is bidding alone, but this could not be confirmed. Others in the race are a consortium of Essar Offshore and Technip; SEW with PT Gunanusa and Swiber; Abu Dhabi-based NPCC; Nippon Steel; TL Offshore; Kawasaki Heavy Industries; Solar Turbines; and Sairama.

Neither Essar nor Technip are believed to have construction shipyards to handle the project and are seen as a weak contender. There are also doubts if the SEW-led consortium has the financial muscle for a project this size.