High spec jack-up tender doubt as rumours fly

Vol 19, PW 5 (05 Nov 15) Exploration & Production

Talk to drillers and you'd be forgiven for concluding that ONGC is about to scrap two 'high spec' jack-up tenders for three rigs.

A contractor who bid in both tenders reports an 'eerie silence' from ONGC since it received replies to its queries. “We’re waiting for them to open price bids,” he says.

“But I hear the tenders might be scrapped.” Another driller worries about rumours that ONGC has insufficient locations to justify hiring three 'high-spec' rigs.

“Such rigs are typically used in 'under-balanced' drilling (where the pressure of the well-bore is kept lower than the pressure in the formation),” he says. “ONGC doesn't have many locations like this.

” Yet another driller suspects a plot by rival bidders (read: Jindal Drilling) to derail the tender process so they can revise their price quotes down when tenders are re-issued. “Most bidders must have quoted around $85,000-90,000/day,” we hear.

“But anybody desperate for work will want to slash the rate.” In its tender to hire two high-spec rigs built after April 2004, ONGC received eight rig offers by July 31.

Later it issued a separate tender for an additional high-spec rig, almost as an afterthought, where it received bids by August 18. Here twelve rigs were offered.

In the tender where bids were received on July 31, Jindal asked ONGC’s Independent External Monitors (IEMs) in September to disqualify Hallworthy and Dynamic Drilling for offering rigs under-construction at the Dalian shipyard in China.

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