ONGC rejects untested ABS deepwater technology

Vol 8, PW 1 (07 Apr 04) Exploration & Production

Deepwater drillers operating in the Indian subcontinent can breathe a sigh of relief.

We learn ONGC will not experiment with the Artificial Buoyant Seabed (ABS) technology, an advanced and cost-effective (yet untested) deepwater drilling technology developed by Atlantis Deepwater of Norway. This technology is still at the research and development stage, a senior ONGC official tells PETROWATCH.

We cannot use it unless it has been applied somewhere. Talks between Atlantis and ONGCs deepwater drilling team have made little headway.

Atlantis claims that ABS is cost effective, but we cant take a chance until we know about its constraints and limitations, the ONGC official said. According to ONGC, confidence in this advanced technology is very low.

We dont even know how feasible it is for deepwater drilling. This is not the time to experiment with untried concepts.

Last February, an Atlantis team met ONGC chairman Subir Raha in Mumbai and offered a free one-month trail of its technology. But ONGC is not interested and has dropped plans to equip its Sagar Bhushan rig with the ABS system.

As of now ONGC is not interested in this offer. We will be ready to use it when we have seen that it is successful elsewhere.

Atlantis claims that its ABS concept can reduce ONGCs deepwater drilling day rates by at least 50%. Atlantis will have to prove this claim to ONGC.

Unless the prudence of their system is known there is no point in going ahead with it. Atlantis, however, is still awaiting a formal response from ONGC.

A source close to the Norwegian company tells this report: We dont know what happened! Previously ONGC was very keen about our technology. But suddenly we hear that they dont want to come anywhere near it.

Counters ONGC: There is no need to respond. We are not bound to respond to an offer which we dont wish to undertake.