ONGC qualifies PGS + Western + CGG for 3D

Vol 17, PW 8 (14 Nov 13) Exploration & Production

ONGC is playing safe and has invited only "the big three" seismic contractors to bid in a tender to shoot high resolution broadband 3D in Indian waters.

PGS, CGG Veritas and WesternGeco were told on (Friday) November 1 the new deadline for the tender is November 18. Earlier hopefuls Polarcus and Dolphin Geophysical were disqualified on technical grounds and won't be bidding, confirm sources acting for both companies.

But ONGC's decision to sharply reduce the volume of 3D it wants is raising questions among contractors about its commitment to the project. "This tender is a classic ONGC cock-up!" we hear.

"They want to shoot this season but it's far from certain they'll manage." When it was first announced in July this year, ONGC billed the estimated $200m survey over 16,000-sq as the largest of its kind this season.

Weeks later it slashed the number to 4000-sq km and is now asking contractors to shoot just 2000-sq km in a contract worth no more than $60m. Can ONGC get its act together and allow the winning contractor time to deploy and complete the survey before next year's monsoon early June "Nothing will happen before Christmas," adds a source.

"By the time ONGC analyses bids, issue technical clarifications and negotiates rates it'll be January next year before they make the award." Assuming one month to shoot 1000-sq km 3D the jury's out if any contractor can mobilise and complete the survey before next year's rains start lashing the coast in May and June.