ONGC set to announce massive 3D tender

Vol 13, PW 19 (11 Mar 10) Exploration & Production

Next month ONGC is expected to invite bids for one of the largest 3D seismic tenders ever launched in India.

PETROWATCH learns ONGC’s geophysical team is in the final stages of preparing a tender for the acquisition of 26,000-sq km 3D across NELP-VI and NELP-VII blocks off both the western and eastern shores of India. When contacted by this report, ONGC declined to give details.

“The tender will be out soon and uploaded to our website,â€‌ says ONGC. “Why don’t you wait till thenâ€‌ But a seismic contractor tells us ONGC wants the selected company to begin seismic acquisition in the coming fair weather season, which begins this October and ends next May.

“Work can begin only by November or December,â€‌ adds this source. “It takes time to mobilise vessels and complete documentation so there will be only around five months for the actual shooting.

â€‌ ONGC will need to hire between five and six seismic survey vessels, each with at least eight streamers and divide the job among them, we hear, so each vessel shoots about 4000-sq km 3D. As seismic vessel hire rates have dropped sharply from approximately $11m/month two years ago to around $6.5m/month now, the total ONGC contract for each vessel is tentatively estimated at about $35m.

Further, we learn ONGC may break its traditional pattern of asking for day rates and instead ask companies to bid a lump sum amount per vessel for the entire area of seismic contracted to them. “This will be good for companies with large modern vessels that have 10 or even 16 streamers,â€‌ we are told.

“Such companies could complete their work faster without dropping their rates to match junk, outdated six-streamer vessels offered by smaller players. ONGC will also get better quality data than it would with older vessels.

â€‌ Major seismic players WesternGeco, PGS, Fugro and CGGVeritas are likely to bid in this tender, as are several smaller players.