Back door dealing by CGGVeritas on ONGC boat tender

Vol 10, PW 25 (19 Apr 07) Exploration & Production

Controversy, it seems, is never far from an ONGC tender.

PETROWATCH learns trouble this time is brewing around the corporation’s tender to charter-hire a seismic acquisition vessel for two seasons. In our 22nd March issue, we reported how Fugro of Norway emerged L1 and CGGVeritas of France emerged L2 when bids were opened on the 27th February deadline.

By all accounts ONGC was all set to issue Fugro the Letter of Intent. But we spoke too soon, and now things are beginning to look a little murky.

An industry source tells us CGGVeritas emerged L2 after it quoted $396,000 per day to hire ONGC a vessel; Fugro emerged L1 after it quoted $325,000 per day. “When CGGVeritas found out it had lost the job to Fugro,â€‌ we hear, “they offered a very heavy discount to ONGC and said they could do the job for $300,000 per day.

â€‌ Some observers express surprise that the new offer from CGGVeritas was noted in the minutes of a meeting of ONGC’s Executive Purchase Committee held shortly after bids were opened. “I wonder how they could do that,â€‌ says a well-placed source.

“As per its own policy, ONGC does not accept discounts after the price bids have been opened and everybody knows the prices that were quoted.â€‌ Adds another industry source: “Fugro should get the award 99% as things are almost done.

If there is a change at this point of time it will send the wrong signal to companies who want to work with ONGC.â€‌ Contacted by PETROWATCH, no one from ONGC was willing to comment.

ONGC issued a global tender for the charter hire of a seismic vessel on 19th December, originally for three seasons, but later reduced to two seasons, because this year’s good weather window from October to June is almost over. Other bidders were Schlumberger subsidiary WesternGeco, PGS and Wavefield of Norway.

ONGC held two pre-bid meetings on 4th and 15th January and later extended the bid deadline from 29th January to 27th February following detailed queries from bidders.