Petrofac keen on Reliance deepwater contracts

Vol 19, PW 4 (22 Oct 15) Exploration & Production

Struggling global oilfield services provider Petrofac is talking to Reliance as it tries to diversify away from its core operational areas in the Middle East, Africa and North Sea to the deep waters of India’s east coast.

“Petrofac is in talks with Reliance for a field development,” says a source. “But it’s very much at the nascent stage, not specifically for D6, first Petrofac needs to get pre-qualified then it will bid for whatever it can get.

” Petrofac’s interest in India reflects a wider global strategy of diversification away from ‘bread and butter’ low value onland contracts to high margin deepwater contracts. Over the next three years Petrofac, whose London share price dived 30% last November after a shock profits warning, boasts a $21bn order book – but 90% is from onland contracts.

“Petrofac is interested in areas where water depths range from 500 to 3000 metres, like in the Bay of Bengal,” we hear, “not in the Arabian Sea where depths are only 70 to 80 metres.” Pivotal to Petrofac’s new strategy is pipe-laying barge Petrofac JSD-6000 – a $1.2bn vessel under-construction in China with a 6000-tonne crane that can lay subsea pipelines in 4000-metre water depths - ready by October 2017.

Uniquely Petrofac JSD-6000 will have dual S-Lay and J-Lay pipe-laying capacity when most barges have only one or the other. “This kind of barge,” we hear, “isn’t available anywhere in the world.