Happy days for rig inspection firms in India

Vol 19, PW 25 (25 Aug 16) Exploration & Production

Safety is paramount and ONGC's increased emphasis on this critical but under-reported area of the oil and gas industry has been pounced upon by offshore rig inspection agencies determined to expand in India.

Take rig classification agency ABS, for instance. ABS announced on August 1 plans to recruit more local talent for its Pune office - a move that coincides with ONGC's decision to update its list of rig inspection agencies authorised to check that the rigs it mobilises meet international safety standards.

ABS is on the lookout for IT specialists to drive development and sales of its proprietary nautical systems software to meet growing demand in India. Not by chance ABS is also one of the agencies shortlisted in ONGC's inspection agencies tender where it held a pre-bid on July 20 following EoIs on June 24.

An ONGC source explains it has updated the criteria for rig inspection agencies. "We want to empanel fresh rig inspectors to smoothen our (rig hiring) process," he says, "and are evaluating interested agencies." ONGC on July 6 also issued a fresh model agreement for its rig contracts in which it lists the following shortlisted agencies: ABS, Netherlands-based ModuSpec, US-based Oilfield Audit Services and Norway's DNV.

But our ONGC source stresses that other agencies are welcome to join the race. "ONGC is evaluating five to six agencies," adds a DNV source.

"We have not yet heard back and await their decision."