Greka waits for Essar cash before deploying rigs

Vol 17, PW 17 (10 Apr 14) Exploration & Production

Greka Drilling has been forced to push back the deployment of five CBM rigs from China to India for Essar because of delays in the payment of an advance mobilisation fee.

Essar strongly denies the charge. Randeep Grewal, CEO and chairman of Greka, was overheard in conversation at the Unconventional Asia Gas Summit in Delhi on 25 and 26 March saying the London-listed company would not open an office or deploy its rigs at the 500-sq km Raniganj East or RG (E)-CBM-2001/1 CBM block in West Bengal until payment is received.

"Our rigs are lying at a port in China," confirms a source close to Greka. "We are hearing Essar will pay by end-April.

But seeing the way they (Essar) work I don't think the money will come before May 15." Greka believes it will take two months to mobilise rigs to Raniganj from the date of payment.

"Give me a call every week till then,” he adds. “I will update you!” Essar flatly denies any payment delay, putting the blame squarely on Greka.

“Greka must send us a performance bank guarantee," counters a source. “They haven’t done that yet.

” Paperwork to send across a “few million dollars” is underway, he adds. Greka announced on December 16 last year a $65m contract to drill 100 wells at Raniganj East with first drilling slated to begin in June this year.