Essar markets Russian drillship Deep Venture

Vol 18, PW 9 (18 Dec 14) Exploration & Production

Despite fears it was banned from ONGC tenders Russia’s state-owned driller Open Joint Stock Company Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR) could soon be back in India.

In early November Essar Oilfield Services entered the deepwater drilling business by signing a contract to market AMNGR’s drillship Deep Venture. Yet Essar believes offering the rig in India to ONGC might be challenging, given its history.

ONGC hired Deep Venture for two years on March 26, 2013 at an ODR of $399,000 plus service tax but terminated the contract when days later the Russian company said it could mobilise the rig only by October 1, 2013. This would normally have led to an automatic ban but an ONGC source clarifies to PETROWATCH that ONGC was "told" not to ban AMNGR.

"The process (to ban AMNGR) was initiated," he says. "But it was never completed.

This is a Russian state-owned company and ONGC has many dealings in Russia." Venture is today at the PetroVietnam Marine Shipyard at Vung Tao getting an upgrade.

“Venture will be ready to start drilling in January (2015),” adds Essar. “I saw the rig last month (November) and she looked ready for work.

The only thing pending is the BoP installation in January.” AMNGR has listed several countries where Essar can offer the rig, including India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.