Price bids yet to be opened in mid-Tapti 3D tender

Vol 11, PW 2 (31 May 07) Exploration & Production

British Gas and partners ONGC and Reliance are yet to open price bids for the 700-sq km shallow water 3D tender of the mid-Tapti gasfield offshore Mumbai.

PETROWATCH understands that last week joint operator Reliance told consortium partners ONGC and British Gas of its “doubtsâ€‌ about SeaBird’s technical capability and experience. “Reliance told BG and ONGC it still needs to consult its â€کsub-surface’ team before opening the price bids,â€‌ we hear.

This is not the first time Reliance has had “doubtsâ€‌ about SeaBird. In February, shortly after bids were invited for a 700-sq km tender of the mid-Tapti field, Reliance asked SeaBird to make a technical presentation to prove its competence.

Satisfied, Reliance permitted SeaBird to bid. But only two companies responded by the 20th March deadline: SeaBird and CGGVeritas.

SeaBird offered Geo Mariner and CGGVeritas offered Pacific Sword. Despite initial “doubtsâ€‌ at Reliance, Geo Mariner has since passed the technical evaluation, as has Pacific Sword.

Geo Mariner has a draft of 2.5 metres, while Pacific Sword has a draft of 3.5 metres, making both suitable for the survey, which will be in water depths of six to seven metres. SeaBird admits it is a relative newcomer.

“We have been in operation for the past 11 years chartering boats to other seismic companies,â€‌ we hear. “But in the last one year we have started offering our boats directly to operators.

All our crews are the same. The only difference is that we are offering our boats ourselves, not through other contractors.

â€‌ British Gas first issued a tender for the mid-Tapti field last October but cancelled it when SeaBird was the only company to apply. “Even then we were technically qualified,â€‌ adds SeaBird, “But BG told us to charter our boat to another company because we were not on their approved list of contractors.