No Chinese companies wanted in NQRC tender

Vol 23, PW 22 (10 Sep 20) Exploration & Production

Tensions between India and China are rising again over the alleged abduction of five Indian civilians.

Distrust of China is most likely behind ONGC's latest decision to once again scrap and re-issue the tender for the long-delayed offshore Mumbai NQ platform reconstruction project (NQRC). ONGC received NQRC bids on August 7 from L&T, bidding alone, and AFCONS with Indonesia's PT Gunanusa.

But both received emails from ONGC on August 29 telling them it is scrapping the tender. Thankfully, contractors and vendors know the reason this time: ONGC forgot to take declarations from bidders that they do not have business dealings with countries sharing a land border with India.

ONGC needs to do this to comply with the government's July 23 policy of denying Chinese companies access to the domestic market. ONGC re-issued the NQRC tender on September 4 and wants bids by September 18, accompanied by the necessary declaration.

Some say ONGC wants to award NQRC before the end of this month (September). Expect the same two bidders to respond, enabling ONGC to complete the bid evaluation process fairly quickly, according to a source.

Others are not so optimistic. "Was ONGC asleep when the government introduced this policy on July 23?" asks one source.

"Instead of scrapping and re-issuing the tender ONGC could have just asked the two bidders to sign a declaration in line with the government's new policy."