LARGE desperate for boats to meet ONGC deadline

Vol 6, PW 23 (29 Jan 03) Exploration & Production

WINNING THE contract is one thing, executing it quite another.

ONGC is discovering this to its cost because LARGE still hasn't begun the job. This comes as little surprise to industry observers.

It's common knowledge among 3D contractors in India and abroad that LARGE routinely promises more than it can deliver. On this occasion it doesn't have enough boats or kit to carry out the significant commitment of collecting 7,000-sq km of 3D for ONGC.

Last year GAIL, incandescent with rage, was forced to cancel a similar contract with LARGE because of promises unkempt. Will ONGC do the same As we go to press, LARGE is still scouring the international market trying to find vessels that will allow it to complete the jobby ONGC's scheduled completion date of 15th June this year.

Work should have begun on 15th January but the lack of boats means LARGE has not even started. Its Sea Core Explorer will arrive in Cochi next week but will not start acquiring data until February.

A second vessel, the Orion, is also expected sometime next week."They need another two big 8-10 streamer vessels to acquire the balance survey," reveals a source. "We think ONGC has put pressure on Schlumberger to see if it can help by providing the necessary vessels." Contacted by PETROWATCH, Schlumberger denies any pressure from ONGC but confirms that LARGE has asked its subsidiary Western Geco to supply two extra boats to carry out the balance survey.

"We knew LARGE would be in trouble," adds a source. "They don't have enough boats."