Anonymous letters force 3D broadband scrutiny

Vol 20, PW 1 (22 Sep 16) Exploration & Production

Don't bet on ONGC meeting its November 2016 deadline to begin shooting 4341-sq km broadband 3D.

A series of anonymous letters accusing each of the four seismic contractors in the race of some fault or the other is forcing ONGC to scrutinise bids carefully. WesternGeco, PGS, CGGVeritas and Dolphin Geophysical all sent replies to ONGC on September 13 under the second round of clarifications.

"As of now," says a source, "all the bidders are still in the race." However Schlumberger subsidiary WesternGeco is on shaky ground as it has failed to submit financial details of the tax-free British Virgin Islands-registered entity through which it bid. "WesternGeco has admitted it doesn't have the financial details," we hear.

Now it is up to ONGC to decide whether to disqualify the company or give it special treatment. "Such a decision can only be taken by the Executive Purchase Committee," said a source on September 20.

"For projects under Rs150cr ($25m) a director can decide but ONGC's budget for the tender is $49m." There are also doubts about the validity of PGS's commercial bid. One problem is the lack of clarity on Service Tax.

Another is that PGS deviated from what it said in the pre-qualification documents - it originally said it would shoot and process seismic data itself but it has now submitted an MoU saying the data will be processed by CGG services India.