Jindal hotly denies rig customs seizure claim

Vol 19, PW 7 (03 Dec 15) People & Policy

Somebody wants to sabotage Jindal Drilling’s chances in two ONGC tenders for high-spec rigs.

At least that’s what Jindal claims while dismissing rumours its new-built jack-up Jindal Pioneer was seized last month (November) by customs authorities after it failed to pay import duties. An anonymous email sent to this report claims Pioneer was confiscated on November 23 by customs in Mumbai because it owes Rs100cr ($15m) in import duties since May 2015 when it was brought offshore Mumbai from Sharjah’s Lamprell yard.

“Pioneer has not been seized or confiscated by customs,” clarifies a Jindal source. “We received a letter on November 27 from Mumbai customs asking us to submit the Bill of Entry and we are discussing how best to respond.

” Our source at the Delhi-based driller accuses “corporate rivals” of spreading false information to sabotage Pioneer’s chances in two ONGC tenders to hire three high-spec jack-ups, besides ruining her chances of winning overseas jobs. “The moment this kind of news appears," adds Jindal, "it can damage our business prospects.

" Jindal says it submitted the required Import General Manifest (IGM) to customs when Pioneer arrived off Mumbai in anticipation of a contract ‘on nomination’ from ONGC. An IGM lists all equipment, spares and other items including fuel on board.

“Pioneer is in the outer anchorage off Mumbai and has been paying port charges and buying duty-paid diesel from IndianOil besides taking other necessary items after paying taxes and duties,” we hear.