Expect attractive seismic OBN tender in Feb

Vol 19, PW 9 (14 Jan 16) Exploration & Production

ONGC is expected to issue a more attractive tender in February to shoot Ocean Bottom Node (OBN) 3D seismic on the west coast after accepting a raft of useful suggestions from disgruntled contractors.

As the name suggests OBN involves placing highly sensitive sensor 'nodes' on the seabed to record seismic. ONGC abandoned an earlier OBN tender after receiving only one bid from Hind Offshore on September 7, 2015.

Three months later on December 9, 2015 it called a day-long 'by invitation only' meeting to explore how to motivate more companies to bid. Six attended: SMNG-Center; FairfieldNodal; Marine Geology Services (MGS); Geokinetics; Fugro and CGG joint venture Seabed Geo Solutions; and Hind Offshore.

A surprise absentee was SAExploration which bought documents for the last tender but did not bid. Led by executive director USD Pandey and general manager Mahendra Pratap, ONGC outlined the project to shoot and process 4C (four component) 3D OBN over 600-sq km in 3-40 metre water depths at the producing pre-NELP Tapti Daman block.

ONGC then heard individual closed-door presentations. All wanted ONGC to relax its condition that bidders have shot a similar 600-sq km OBN assignment in the past five years.

Anyone with 300-sq km OBN experience should be eligible, they argued. "Hardly any companies have shot and processed 600-sq km," explains a participant.

"You might get just one or two."