AFCONS disputes Cluster 7 exclusion by ONGC

Vol 22, PW 6 (10 Jan 19) Exploration & Production

Indian contractor AFCONS has challenged its disqualification by ONGC in a race for the additional development of the CLUSTER 7 fields off Mumbai.

This report learns AFCONS still awaits a response from ONGC's panel of Independent External Monitors (IEMs) to a letter sent on December 14 asking for its bid be considered. AFCONS, say industry sources, felt compelled to petition the IEMs when it realised that unlike its three rivals it will not receive technical queries from ONGC - a sign it has been disqualified.

When ONGC sent the first set of technical queries out on December 28, AFCONS received nothing. At issue is AFCONS decision to bid alone without consortium partners even though it is partnering experienced sub-contractors.

An ONGC source argues AFCONS has no EPC project experience on its own. "They had consortium partners in all previous (ONGC offshore Mumbai) projects they won," he stresses.

But an AFCONS source disagrees insisting that ONGC's Mumbai work centre is misinterpreting and contravening its own internal guidelines laid down by the company's policy making unit in Delhi on February 23 (2018) which he says "clearly allow contractors to work through experienced sub-contractors" and replaced earlier guidelines barring contractors from using sub-contractors. CLUSTER 7 bids were also submitted on November 22 by Larsen & Toubro, Sapura Energy and a JV of Vietsovpetro, Federal Offshore and Dolphin Offshore.