Expect ONGC jack-up tenders soon

Vol 12, PW 25 (21 May 09) News in Brief

ONGC is poised to issue fresh tenders for three offshore jack-ups as contracts for Great Offshore’s Kedarnath, Jindal Drilling-operated Noble Ed Holt and Pride International’s Pride Pennsylvania, come to an end between August and September this year.

By now, ONGC should have issued the tenders and selected drillers for the post-monsoon Mumbai Offshore drilling season. But with no tender in sight drillers are speculating about the delay.

One theory is that tenders are delayed because a law that gives ONGC tax exemptions and marks out specific offshore areas as tax-free zones expires this year. A more plausible reason is that new oil ministry guidelines say no tenders should be issued unless internal financial approval for a project is in place.

This problem was overcome last week when ONGC management gave its financial approval, paving the way for a tender for the three rigs. Not yet clear is whether ONGC will tender for three or five-year contracts.