Jindal rigs might not come to India after all

Vol 18, PW 11 (29 Jan 15) Exploration & Production

Jindal Drilling rigs Jindal Explorer and Jindal Pioneer might not come to India after all.

In a surprise move ONGC’s Executive Purchase Committee (EPC) on January 14 scrapped Category-IV of its 12-jack up tender, overturning a recommendation by its tender committee to negotiate and bring down the rates quoted by sole bidder Jindal. When price bids were opened on November 5 Jindal bid $122,157/day for Jindal Explorer, under-construction at the Keppel FELS shipyard in Singapore, and $122,433/day for Jindal Pioneer, under-construction at the Lamprell shipyard at Sharjah.

But now, following the EPC decision, ONGC asked Jindal on January 15 to take back its bank guarantees of Rs2cr ($324,777) for each rig. Strangely, only a week earlier on January 7, ONGC’s drilling services division asked Jindal to extend the bid validity till February 15, which Jindal accepted on January 13.

And two months earlier, on November 26, the EPC made a counter-offer of $89,889.19/day including 12.36% service tax to Jindal for each rig and wrote to Jindal on December 10 asking for a response by December 12. Jindal replied that it would need until December 16 to respond because the relevant company official was unavailable adding that it would extend its bid bonds till January 15.

ONGC’s tender committee recommended Jindal’s request “may be considered” but wanted top management to take a formal decision first.