ONGC begins anti-corruption probe into ROV tenders

Vol 8, PW 11 (25 Aug 04) Exploration & Production

ONGC is worried at the absence of global companies in tenders for Remote Operating Vehicles and suspects it might be because of corruption.

PETROWATCH learns chairman Subir Raha has ordered ONGCs anti-corruption (vigilance) department to carry out an internal probe into why most global companies have stayed away over the past few years. On 5th August, Ganesh Chandra Raturi, ONGCs deputy general manager vigilance, wrote to several global ROV service providers for answers.

ONGC had been hiring ROV services for last 7-8 years for its deep sea drilling projects, writes Raturi. It has been noticed that the participation in our tenders was very low.

In the last tender in 2002, where the services were hired for our two deepwater rigs and the tender being an open global tender, only two companies participated. Continues Raturi: It is understood that your company is also capable of providing ROV services but you have not participated in this bidding.

Raturi said ONGC earnestly wants to, invite maximum competition in our tenders to get the benefit of best prices and technology in our future tenders. Raturi concludes: We will appreciate if the details of the latest technology available with you on ROV is forwarded to us along with your valued comments for non participation in our earlier tenders.

Raturis letter follows a 30th July ONGC meeting in Mumbai with several ROV service providers for suggestions on bid evaluation criteria before a new tender is issued. ONGC believes the hydraulically operated ROVs that it traditionally uses have operational limitations.

Critical among these is their ability to operate only at a maximum water depth of 1000 metres while newer, electrically operated ROVs can work in 3000 metres depth. Says one ROV service provider: If ONGC is serious about competition and new technology it should go in for the new generation ROVs instead of sticking to outdated technology.