Cairn keeps Weatherford and John guessing...

Vol 20, PW 12 (09 Mar 17) Exploration & Production

Cairn India is doing all it can to earn the dubious distinction of being an unreliable customer.

This report learns Cairn is keeping drilling contractors Weatherford Drilling International and John Energy guessing over its plans to hire land rigs to drill exploration and development wells at its RJ-ON-90/1 permit in Rajasthan. Sometime next week beginning March 13, a Cairn team has penciled in a visit to the tax-free Special Economic Zone in Mundra to inspect 1000-hp Weatherford rigs 806 and 807 and 750-hp rig 709 ahead of a possible contract.

All three rigs are idle since February 2015 when Cairn abruptly canceled their contracts along with several others blaming falling crude prices. "Cairn wants to inspect the rigs first," we hear.

"If they find the rigs fit for use they will call Weatherford for commercial talks." In anticipation, Weatherford is sending a high-level team from Dubai. Yet hopes of a firm contract from Cairn remain uncertain.

"Cairn will suddenly call you asking if the rig is available," we hear. "Then they go off to sleep for months.

You keep calling but they don't call back." Weatherford isn't the only driller to complain. Last week a Cairn team inspected a 1000-hp John Energy rig, also for a potential contract at RJ-ON-90/1.

"Cairn's original tender for land rigs was published in February last year," adds another source. "In that tender Cairn said it wants to drill 16 wells on an eight-month contract."