Essar Wildcat seized by Norscot in payment row

Vol 20, PW 4 (03 Nov 16) People & Policy

You would be forgiven for concluding that Essar Wildcat is not destined to work for ONGC! This report learns the Essar Oilfield Services rig has been seized in Singapore at the Sembawang Shipyard by Norscot Rig Management as security for unpaid bills of $12.4m.

After Norscot approached the Singapore High Court with an arbitration order, the 'seizure and sale' order was executed on September 29 by the Singapore Sheriff's office. Ironically, Essar had only just paid off Sembawang Shipyard, which had earlier got the rig 'arrested'.

Unless Essar pays Norscot it cannot complete rig maintenance work and mobilise to India for her three-year ONGC contract worth $104.35m. Under ONGC's LoA, Essar had to mobilise Wildcat by August 24 but on August 11 asked for an extension until December 10.

"We're confident work can be completed by then," says an Essar source. Yet some can't forget Essar chose not to mobilise the same rig on another ONGC contract in 2011 and was duly penalised $3m.

Norscot's bills from Essar date back to 2006 for managing Wildcat for two years to 2008 when Essar terminated the contract. Included in the $12.4m total is $3m towards crew salaries and $4m to cover Norscot's legal costs.

But Essar wants to solve the problem with Norscot and mobilise the rig for ONGC. "Less than 30 days work is needed on Wildcat," says Essar.

"She was warm-stacked after her last contract."

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