Halliburton shuts down logging operations in India

Vol 6, PW 3 (10 Apr 02) Exploration & Production

HALLIBURTONS LOGGING operations shut shop in India on 31st March - a direct result of ONGC's scrapping of a three-year offshore rig services contract last October.

Closure was preceded by some bitter exchanges with ONGC over Halliburton's inability to mobilise the RMT tool a logging equipment to monitor reservoir saturation. "They sent us legal notices, threatened to take us to arbitration," said a source at ONGC.

"We said, fine, let's go for arbitration. They went and met Naik.

When we called their bluff, they turned non co-operative. But we stood firm." A source tells us Halliburton vice president (Asia Pacific) Chas Charles met ONGC chairman Subir Raha last month in New Delhito mend fences.

"Another meeting was scheduled for 5th April," he adds. "But now we learn they have closed operations." What led Halliburton to take this drastic step In March last year ONGC awarded Halliburton 70% of a contract for wireline services, workover and development for 16 offshore rigs.

Thirty percent was given to Schlumberger. By September ONGC realised Halliburton had not mobilised the RMT tool.

Why It had been on the US embargo list since Delhi conducted nuclear tests in 1999. Halliburton's oversight enraged ONGC, which terminated the contract.

US sanctions were eased after11th September this year but by then ONGC's patience had run out. "They needed US government permission to export the tool, there's no way we could get it in time." Halliburton chose not to comment.

A company spokesman tells us: "We wouldn't like to comment on any of these things now. Maybe later."