Reliance drillship tender sincerity in question

Vol 20, PW 3 (20 Oct 16) Exploration & Production

Most people would be happy at the prospect of winning a six-well drilling contract from a company like Reliance - especially in this depressed market.

But drillers are asking: what's the real story behind Reliance's October 7 tender to hire a DP drillship? Reliance's evident lack of focus on E&P and the fact that the tender is for drilling slated to begin only in 2018 is not inspiring much confidence. "I don't think Reliance is serious," says a driller.

"They're testing the market." Reliance's tender is especially puzzling because on October 3 it terminated a 10-year contract for drillship Discoverer India by paying Transocean a $160m penalty. Under the fresh tender Reliance wants a drillship that can drill six firm wells at the R-Cluster within the D6 gasfield in water depths of 1500 feet (457 metres) to 7500 feet (2286 metres).

Confusingly Reliance wants each well drilled in 90 days while offering a 16 month or 480 day contract. Drillers counter that Reliance knows full well it can take at least 540 days to drill six wells.

Also Reliance has not issued a global tender but instead sent Request for Proposal documents to selected drillers including Transocean, Noble Drilling, Seadrill Offshore, Odfjell Drilling and Vantage Drilling. With a bid deadline set for November 7 whoever wins must confirm it can mobilise by the first quarter of 2018 to begin drilling in the third or fourth quarter.

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