ONGC still preparing tender for two deepwater rigs

Vol 11, PW 16 (13 Dec 07) Exploration & Production

Drilling contractors are keenly watching ONGC’s next move in efforts to hire a deepwater drilling rig after last month’s aborted talks with Ocean Rig for deepwater drillship Eirik Raude.

PETROWATCH learns ONGC plans to kick-start its original tender for a 10,000-ft capable drillship or semi submersible – first floated as long ago as April 2006 – with the publication later this month of â€کminutes’ from the last pre-bid meeting with contractors in Mumbai on September 21. ONGC tells us the â€کminutes’ will incorporate significant changes to the tender terms demanded by the bidders who took part in the pre-bid meeting.

“Our idea behind these changes is to attract more competition so that we get a wider choice of rigs,â€‌ we hear. Along with, or soon after ONGC issues the minutes of the September 21 meeting, it will also float a fresh tender to hire a second deepwater rig, this time one that can drill in slightly shallower water depths of 7500-ft.

As with the tender for a 10,000-ft rig, ONGC is also offering a three-year contract for a 7500-ft rig. Drillers are already speculating about the major changes in this tender.

“One modification is that ONGC could allow Indian companies to bid as a joint venture with companies that have placed orders for rigs,â€‌ says a driller. “Another major change expected is that ONGC will look at the deepwater experience of not just the company offering the rig but also of the people it employs.

â€‌ Third, ONGC is expected to give bidders the choice of offering only the rig, and not the rig plus services in an integrated package, as it has insisted till now. “These changes are overdue,â€‌ says a driller.

“If ONGC had carried out these changes earlier they could have had a rig in April instead of still struggling.â€‌