Reliance wants drillship for shallow water drilling

Vol 7, PW 16 (22 Oct 03) Exploration & Production

Drilling contractors are busy preparing to submit bids for Reliance's latest shallow water drilling programme.

On 16th October, Reliance invited bids for a 'conventional floater drillship' to drill three 'firm' and four 'optional' wells in water depths between 40 metres and 600 metres. Bids must be submitted by 12th November.

Reliance wants the wells drilled between 1st and 31st January 2004. Which are the blocks on which Reliance wants the wells drilled As usual, Reliance isn't revealing.

Instead, it has released a list of blocks on the east and west coasts over which the wells could be drilled. Among them are NELP blocks KG-OSN-97/1; SR-OSN-97/1; MB-OSN-97/2; MB-OSN-97/3; KK-OSN-97/2; KG-OSN-97/4; KG-OSN-97/3 and NEC-OSN-97/2.

The chosen drilling contractor could also be asked to drill at Reliance's non-NELP blocks: SR-OS-94/1, KG-OSJ/1 or KG-OS/5. For good measure - and to further mask the 'actual' blocks - Reliance has included deepwater blocks KG-DWN-98/1; KG-DWN-98/3 and MN-DWN-98/2.

"Reliance doesnt want to give potential bidders any idea of where exactly they want to drill," says a source. All the big drillers are likely to submit bids: Transocean, Frontier Drilling, Atwood Oceanics, Northern Offshore and Diamond Offshore.

Despite drillers' eagerness to bid for the Reliance contract there is some concern over whether or not it will be possible to mobilise within the time frame set by Reliance. Which driller will have an edge "Atwood Oceanics has an edge over the others and will put up strong competition," says a source.

Why "Atwood Southern Cross will have finished drilling for Cairn by the time Reliance begins its programme. Another strong contender will be Northern Offshore's 'Energy Searcher' drillship, which is already in the region.

This will be Reliance's second major shallow water drilling programme. In December 2002, Reliance hired Transocean jack-up 'Nordic Explorer' to start its shallow water drilling programme.

'Nordic Explorer' is contracted to Reliance till May 2004 for an eight to 10 well programme and is currently drilling in the Arabian Sea after drilling offshore Gujarat.