Mercator promises new Sagar Samrat deadline

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

Promises are nice but only if kept! Five years after the project was awarded Mercator Oil and Gas has (again) promised to complete the conversion of ONGC's decommissioned jack-up Sagar Samrat to a Mobile Offshore Processing Unit (MOPU) by December 2016.

PETROWATCH learns this was agreed on August 17 at a meeting between Mercator, its partner Gulf Piping, and ONGC. "Sagar Samrat will sail out by December (2016) (from Abu Dhabi) and be commissioned by February 2017 (at ONGC's WO-16 marginal fields off Mumbai)," claims a Mercator source.

Some will be hugely sceptical about Mercator's latest assurance, and can you blame them? First awarded in November 2011, the original completion deadline was May 31, 2013. ONGC however is confident Mercator and Gulf can meet the new deadline.

By end-July, says an ONGC source, 94.11% of the work had been completed against the planned 94.35%. So why has the project taken so long? "ONGC took one year to approve changes to the scope of work after we opened up the rig," adds a Mercator source.

"This is a 'brownfield' project (modification of an old rig not the construction of a new MOPU). There were many surprises after modification work began." Originally the project was awarded for $153m but costs have since risen to $194.13m.

ONGC has so far paid Mercator $165m or 85% of the modified project value.