Impatient ONGC queries bids in 27-rig tender

Vol 22, PW 9 (21 Feb 19) Exploration & Production

ONGC is moving at "lightning speed" to evaluate bids from three companies in its tender to buy 27 onland drilling rigs with 1500-2000-hp capacities, according to bidders.

"Our first set of queries from ONGC on our bid came yesterday," confirms a source from the Schlumberger-China Petroleum Technology & Development Corporation (CPTDC) consortium on February 16 after it bid by the January 10 deadline. "Price bids should be opened in March."

Very soon ONGC will also send queries on bids from the other two consortia: US-based National Oilwell Varco (NOV) with state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and Italian driller Drillmec with Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering & Constructions. Any contract award however might take time.

A rival bidder claims Drillmec's financial bid will come under intense scrutiny because its troubled Italian parent company Milan-listed Trevi Finanziaria Industriale (Trevi) on December 31 (2018) announced a "financial restructuring" programme triggered by a "net consolidated debt" of €686m ($775m). Others counter that only Drillmec partner Megha's balance sheet will face scrutiny because it is lead bidder with a letter of support from Drillmec to sell it rigs if they win the tender.

Further complicating matters is Trevi's December 4 (2018) announcement that it had accepted a "binding offer" from Megha parent company Megha Engineering & Infrastructures to buy Drillmec and another company, Petreven, "based on an enterprise value equal to €140m on a debt free basis."