No one at ONGC wants to sign-off for 9 rigs

Vol 18, PW 18 (07 May 15) Exploration & Production

'I was just following orders' is an excuse prosecutors rarely accept.

Which is why junior ONGC officers are scared to sign off on LoAs for nine rigs offered without tender for 122-260 days following an Executive Purchase Committee decision on April 7. Many fear they will face embarrassing questions about why ONGC has given Shelf, Jagson, Jindal and Deepwater contracts on a plate, without tender.

Other drillers, dismayed at their exclusion, have written to ONGC asking for nomination contracts too. Hallworthy on April 30 offered Foresight Driller-IX, which technically qualified in ONGC’s last jack-up tender in 2014.

Earlier on April 10, Jet Drilling offered Energy Driller which came off her ONGC contract on April 22. Sometime in April, GOL Offshore offered Badrinath coming off her ONGC contract mid-May.

And about the same time, unconfirmed reports say Aban offered Aban-II, which came off contract on April 18. ONGC management is wondering how best to accommodate Jagson’s Deepsea Treasure, idle since April 2010 and therefore ineligible even for a nomination contract under ONGC rules.

“To accommodate Treasure," says a source, "the bid evaluation criteria (that a rig should not be idle for over three years) must be amended but doing this will create a furore,” says a source. Another source adds there is heated internal debate within ONGC about the legitimacy of awarding these contracts without tender.

Don't be surprised if the idea is scrapped all together.