ONGC denies bias in broadband 3D tender

Vol 17, PW 4 (19 Sep 13) Exploration & Production

ONGC has dismissed accusations it is blocking some bidders in a delayed tender to shoot and process 3925-sq km of broadband 3D in the western offshore.

ONGC, which is expected to issue the tender by end-September, responded to allegations made in an unsigned letter received this month by this report. ONGC director exploration NK Verma said it is not “discriminating against any company” during pre-qualifying talks with seismic contractors.

The anonymous letter says four companies were initially short-listed to be issued tenders for the broadband survey: WesternGeco, CGGVeritas and PGS Asia Pacific, which have regional offices in Singapore; and Norway’s Dolphin Geophysical. “Now the cartel of Singapore-based companies have impressed the director exploration Naresh Verma (sic) and director (HGS) Chaman Singh based in Mumbai, such that Dolphin has been ousted," alleges the letter.

"When Notice Inviting Tender is published in a few days you will see only three Singapore-based companies are shortlisted.” Verma declined to comment on whether Dolphin will be excluded.

But he said broadband 3D is a new technology, "mastered" only by some companies. “Certain companies want to emulate the benefits of broadband 3D only at the stage of data processing," said Verma.

"But we want the benefits at both stages: data acquisition and processing.” Verma said ONGC is unwilling to be a “guinea pig” for companies developing 3D broadband 3D.

“We will include all companies that demonstrate they have fully developed broadband technology and experience as well,” he said. Another ONGC source says WesternGeco, CGGVeritas, PGS, Dolphin Geophysical, Russia’s SMNG and Norwegian-listed Polarcus and SeaBird Exploration are being evaluated as “serious bidders”.

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