May 17 bid deadline to replace/rehire Norwell

Vol 24, PW 12 (06 May 21) Exploration & Production

By next month (June), ONGC is likely to have either replaced or re-hired UK-based Norwell Engineering for a well-design, construction, completion, and supervision contract at the Cluster-2 development at deepwater block KG-DWN-98/2.

So far, ONGC has drilled 28 wells at Cluster-2, but it still needs to do 'completions', and Norwell's $58m contract for three years, won in June 2018, is up for renewal or replacement. Only three companies attended the online pre-bid on April 26 (2021): UK-based Norwell, Delhi-based EnQuest PetroSolutions and Pune-based Manan Oilfield Services.

ONGC wants bids by May 17 (2021) for the tender, issued on April 14. At the pre-bid, ONGC turned down EnQuest's request to scrap the Quality and Cost Based System (QCBS), under which Norwell would most likely do well.

Under this points system, price counts for 70% while technical qualifications only 30%. Indian companies are likely to do better under a system where the price is the only consideration.

EnQuest also asked ONGC to dilute its tender specifications to reflect Narendra Modi's Make in India mantra so Indian companies can win and ONGC can benefit from increased competition. ONGC responded sharply to such unsolicited suggestions, saying it would not entertain the "inappropriate" demand to scrap QCBS.

"We have our requirements, and we will keep QCBS," ONGC is reported to have told the three pre-bid participants. ONGC also reminded likely bidders that the latest tender has already relaxed specifications "a lot" compared to the previous tender three years ago.

In that tender, ONGC saw participation from overseas companies AGR, Lloyds-Synergia, Norwell and Exceed Energy. Some feel the QCBS system should put more importance on technical qualifications.

"ONGC's version of QCBS will mean that the lowest bidder will still have a huge advantage over a more qualified bidder whose price is higher," we hear.