GE tells ministry 98/2 deadlines are achievable

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

In a break with fellow contractors, General Electric (GE) has accepted ONGC's message that there should be no delay in its $2bn SPURF tender to start production at the deepwater KG-DWN-98/2 block.

A GE team including its South Asia oil and gas chief Ashish Bhandari, met oil ministry joint secretary exploration Amar Nath, DGH chief Atanu Chakraborty and ONGC chairman Dinesh Sarraf in three separate meetings on October 3 to stress its willingness to go along with the present tight timelines for 98/2 production. "In these meetings GE said the production timelines look challenging but stressed they are doable," says a source.

"GE clearly sees an opportunity to convince the government and ONGC that it is willing to stick to these tight timelines." Another industry source adds that the reason why oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan is pushing ONGC to begin production from 98/2 well before May 2019 is because that is when India's next general elections are are scheduled. "The 2019 timeline is non-negotiable for Pradhan," adds a source.

"He wants to trumpet production from this block as a major achievement of the BJP government." Narendra Modi, he says, is hoping to get re-elected with a campaign focusing on similar achievements since he was voted to power in May 2014. This is why ONGC is in no mood to hear pleas from likely contractors for more time to prepare the FEED and bid documents.

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