Wanted: reliable anchor-moored rig for ONGC

Vol 24, PW 15 (17 Jun 21) Exploration & Production

ONGC might have a hard time finding a rig to replace or rehire Olinda Star.

With luck, it won't hire one that experienced as many problems or 'downtime' as Star or SSV Louisiana. Star's contract ran out on January 12 (2021), but it is still working for ONGC to compensate for 'downtime' or days it could not work for technical reasons.

ONGC issued a tender to replace or rehire Star on June 2 (2021) and wants "unpriced techno-commercial bids" by July 12 for the rig, which will be deployed at the Cluster-2 development at KG-DWN-98/2 block for subsea completions of nine wells. Industry sources worry ONGC will struggle to find a suitable "anchor-moored rig" to replace Olinda Star.

"I don't think there is any Indian company which has such a rig available," says a source. He adds financially distressed Aban Offshore approved the sale of its drillships Aban Ice and Aban Abraham on March 5 (2021).

Olinda Star-owner QGOG might offer Star again, and Ventura Petroleo might offer SSV Louisiana, still drilling for ONGC, but whose contract officially ended on May 3 (2021). ONGC could also receive an offer from Essar for Essar Wildcat, stacked off Indonesia, where it was meant to begin a Pertamina contract in the second half of 2020.

Still unclear is if Wildcat will begin that contract; some believe Essar might offer it to ONGC instead. ONGC's bid document specifically calls for an "anchor-moored rig", which could include offers from either drillship or semi-submersible operators.

ONGC wants to mobilise the rig by November (2021) or within 120 days from the LoA. "Anchor-moored rigs are not easy to find anywhere in the world," adds our source.

"Because of this, ONGC is planning virtual meetings with contractors outside India." ONGC has faced multiple problems with Star and Louisiana since it hired them in 2017.