JayBee replaces Shiv Vani rig for Oil India

Vol 17, PW 16 (27 Mar 14) Exploration & Production

Oil India is desperately juggling its drilling plans after partner Shiv Vani failed to mobilise a rig to its Mizoram block MZ-ONN-2004/1.

On March 21 it asked JayBee Energy to mobilise a rig from Duliajan. “JayBee's rig was already on hire,” Oil India tells us.

“We asked it to work at the same rates quoted by Shiv Vani in Mizoram.” Oil India needs to begin work urgently to appease local communities desperate for jobs.

Operations were already disrupted this month (March) by student protests in neighbouring Assam over allegations that its hiring process for unskilled workers isn’t transparent. Oil India is also under pressure from Mizoram authorities to accelerate exploration and provide jobs.

State geology and mining minister H. Rohluna and parliamentary secretary Joseph Lalhimpuia met Oil India chairman SK Srivastava on February 20 to press their demands.

JayBee's rig will take three months to reach because of hilly terrain. Shiv Vani had quoted Rs113cr ($23m) later reduced to Rs106cr ($21m).

But because it failed to mobilise by the March 15 deadline, Oil India issued a two-year ban on it from future tenders. Oil India urgently needs two rigs at this block to drill five wells.

In its tender for a second rig, Oil India has extended the bid deadline to April 2. JayBee, Quippo, John Energy, Essar and Ukraine's Burova Technika are among those expected to bid.