Halani and Core in ONGC barge tender fight

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

Mumbai-based Halani Shipping has accused rival Navi Mumbai-based Core Offshore of sabotaging its chances in ONGC’s tender to hire a barge and two tugs with services for two seasons, beginning this month (October).

Halani approached ONGC’s Independent External Monitors (IEMs) on September 22, alleging it was because of lowest bidder Core that its own price bid was not opened on September 9. Halani was given a dedicated hearing on September 30 and Core made its case to the IEMs on October 16.

Halani claims that just 10 minutes before ONGC was to open price bids, Bourbon Offshore declined to confirm the exclusive availability of two tugs to support its bid. Unbeknownst to Halani, Bourbon had an exclusive arrangement with Core.

Therefore Halani had no confirmed tugs to offer. Yet instead of confirming the availability of Bourbon’s tugs, Core confirmed Greatship tugs Aarti, Amrita, and Ahalya.

Halani accused Core, incorporated as recently as January this year (2015), of influencing Bourbon’s decision, thus violating ONGC’s Integrity Pact. Halani claims its price is 25-30% lower than Core, which quoted $90,813/day.

When contacted, a Core source says Halani’s story is “cooked up and full of half-truths.” He adds that the tug owner has discretion to confirm availability.

Bourbon had offered its tugs to Halani ‘subject to availability’ but on “unconditional exclusivity” to Core. More, he claims, Halani was the only bidder to fail to send in an original commitment letter by September 8.