LARGE fails to meet ONGC deadline for 3D survey

Vol 7, PW 7 (18 Jun 03) Exploration & Production

NO SURPRISE to hear that Russias Laboratory of Regional Geodynamics has failed to meet ONGCs 15th June deadline to shoot a 7,000-sq km 3D survey across thirteen blocks.

We learn LARGE has completed less than half the survey, forcing ONGC to extend its contract to November. We have extended their contract following a request from the company, reveals ONGC.

If theres any further delay we will claim liquidated damages of a maximum 5% of the contract value. LARGE is five months behind schedule and has agreed to the penalty clause, confirms ONGC.

They dont have a choice do they ONGC controversially appointed LARGE on 27th September last year after it bid $12m less than a $58m bid from Veritas of the US. Since then we learn ONGCs tender committee has considered terminating LARGEs contract but held back because this would further delay data acquisition.

It would be ONGCs loss, adds a source. A new tender would mean more controversy and a never-ending wait for data.

One rival contractor predicts LARGE will not meet the new November deadline. There is no way they can finish the entire programme before then." LARGE should have started work in November last year but only began in February this year with two vessels: the four-streamer MV Orion and three-streamer MV Seacor Explorer.

Till now LARGE has completed work in just three of the 13 blocks: a deepwater block in the Kutch offshore and two shallow blocks near the Tapti field offshore Mumbai. ONGC tells us LARGE will move its two boats to the east coast by the end of this month to begin a 750-sq km 3D survey across two deepwater blocks in the Mahanadi and Krishna Godavari basins.

Today, Orion and Seacor Explorer are in the shallow waters of Ratnagiri and Mumbai High.