BOATS: Vessel age dispute hits ONGC tender

Vol 18, PW 16 (09 Apr 15) Exploration & Production

ONGC has postponed the bid deadline for a fourth time in its tender to hire 20 boats for five years.

This time from April 7 to April 17. Why? Because of a dispute among bidders about the age criteria for vessels.

At a meeting on April 6 at the shipping industry in Delhi two rival groups of bidders argued vociferously. On the one hand members of lobby group Indian National Shipowners’ Association (INSA) wanted ONGC to stick to its tender condition of not hiring vessels older than 21 years, as these companies had mainly newer vessels to offer.

On the other side a group of vessel owners wanted ONGC to scrap any age limit so they could offer older vessels. In the end, ONGC decided to extend the bid deadline and wait for the shipping ministry to decide.

“ONGC is expecting age criteria guidelines from the government by April 17,” says a source. Foreign bidders have also lobbied for an extension as they are struggling to arrange vessels matching ONGC’s specifications and mobilisation schedule.

Around 40 companies have bought tender documents. “You can buy them till the final hour before bid submission," we hear, "so expect more companies to come in.

" ONGC needs 12 Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs); two Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs) and six Anchor Handling Tugs (AHTs).