Pawan Hans messes up ONGC chopper tender

Vol 18, PW 17 (23 Apr 15) Exploration & Production

Pawan Hans stands accused by private helicopter providers of “messing up” an ONGC tender by bidding well below its own existing contract rates for ONGC.

When ONGC opened price bids in early March in Group I of its helicopter tender, where it needs six choppers for five years, ONGC-affiliate Pawan Hans bid lowest quoting $195,000/month for 80 hours of flying/month for each of three helicopters. Global Vectra offered two helicopters each for $245,000/month followed by Heligo offering one helicopter for $295,000/month including 80 hours flying/month.

All prices exclude 12.36% service tax. ONGC should have issued the LoI by now to Pawan Hans and asked the others to match rates.

“But Pawan Hans realised they bid around 15% lower than their current four-year (ONGC) contract,” says a source. “Now they want a way out and are talking to ONGC.

” He adds prevailing market rates are around $275,000/month. “As price bids have been opened ONGC will have to re-issue the tender,” we hear.

“Allowing Pawan Hans to increase its quote will trigger a legal challenge.” Private contractors say Pawan Hans has an unfair advantage.

“Pawan Hans helicopters are fully depreciated,” says a source. “They get cheap funds from (49% stakeholder) ONGC and employ inexpensive pilots without commercial licences under a special dispensation (DGCA Rule 160).

” Private providers by contrast borrow at market rates and pay competitive salaries to pilots who by law have commercial licenses.