Lukewarm response expected in GSPC rig tender

Vol 13, PW 6 (27 Aug 09) Exploration & Production

Drilling contractors believe GSPC’s latest tender to hire a jack-up won’t get much of a response.

GSPC is offering a â€کfirm’ one-year contract, plus two optional extensions of six months each from January 2010 for a rig to begin development drilling at its discovery block in the KG offshore. Tender documents went on sale for a month till (Wednesday) August 26, but drillers contacted by this report are sceptical.

“GSPC has already issued three rig tenders for semi-submersibles and two for jack-ups but nothing happened,â€‌ says a driller. “This tender could also end up the same.

â€‌ Most criticism centres on GSPC’s demand for a bond of Rs60 lakh ($120,000) to accompany each bid. “Bank funds are not easily available in a recession,â€‌ adds a source.

“Who will block so much money if you’re unsure GSPC is seriousâ€‌ GSPC’s track record in returning the money is also criticised, with contractors reporting long delays in the return of bid bonds. Another driller reports GSPC confusion about what it wants exactly, citing an earlier (aborted) tender where GSPC asked for a rig with either a 10,000-psi or 15,000-psi BOP stack.

“Choosing a 10,000-psi or 15,000-psi rig is not a question of price but of the technical requirements of the location,â€‌ says a driller. “If GSPC is unsure what kind of BOP it wants how can it go ahead Is it serious or just plain inexperiencedâ€‌ Very few jack-ups are available to drill in 400-feet water depths, we are told.

“Beyond 350-feet water depths most operators go for semis, but here semis won’t do because GSPC wants the rig on the KG#8 template for development drilling. A one year contract is too short; most drillers will want longer.

â€‌ In this tender GSPC is clear it wants a jack-up that can drill in 400-feet water depths with a 15,000-psi BOP stack. The bid deadline is September 7.

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