Transocean wins Reliance shallow water contract

Vol 6, PW 14 (11 Sep 02) Exploration & Production

SOON AFTER IT completes its fourth and last exploration well at KG-DWN-98/3 Reliance will begin its shallow water drilling programme.

On 2nd September, Reliance closed its tender for the shallow water drilling contract, won by Transocean whose 300-feet jack-up rig. Nordic Explorer is expected to begin drilling at locations on Reliance's NELP-I blocks end September or early October.

Even here, Reliance has cut back its original plans. Instead of hiring three jack-ups each with between 10,000 and 15,000 psi stacks and capable of drilling in 300 feet water depth, it will retain only the Nordic Explorer.

Instead of original plans to drill 12 wells, current thinking is for six 'firm' and six 'optional' wells. The target blocks are: Saurashtra-Kutch - GK-OSN-97/1, eastern offshore - NEC-OSN-97/2 and offshore Mumbai - either MB-OSN-97/2 or MB-OSN-97/3.

Nordic Explorer is contracted to drill with 10,000 psi stack as well as 15,000 psi stack and will be paid two different day rates depending on the stack with which it operates. Reliance's shallow water acreage lies between 50 metres and 200 metres water depths.

A source tells us Transocean had no competition towards the close of the tender and Reliance found itself in a corner. Jindal Exploration and Ensco International, the other two drillers shortlisted by Reliance, pulled out before submitting price bids as their rigs got jobs elsewhere.

"Reliance took too much time to decide," we hear. "They were left with limited availability." Reliance has been scouting for shallow water drillers since June 2001 when it held a brainstorming session in Mumbai with representatives of drilling companies.

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