Essar Wildcat to drill one well off Vietnam

Vol 13, PW 23 (06 May 10) Exploration & Production

Essar Oilfields-owned semi-submersible Essar Wildcat has won a single well contract offshore Vietnam, raising doubts about whether it can be upgraded in time for a possible ONGC contract in December.

PETROWATCH learns Wildcat left Indian waters on May 4 (Tuesday) to begin drilling for Vietnam-based Vietsovpetro. But the rig is also being offered in an ongoing ONGC tender to hire a semi-submersible that can drill in 600-metre water depths for three years from December 2010.

If Essar wants to win this ONGC contract it needs to upgrade Wildcat, as the rig can drill only in 400-metre water depths. Most doubt this is possible – Wildcat needs at least two weeks to reach the Vietnam location and is expected to complete the planned Vietsovpetro well earliest by September.

“Essar may say its focus is the three-year ONGC contract,” says an industry source, “but how can Wildcat be upgraded if she is in Vietnam” We learn ONGC has yet to decide if Wildcat - which was technically disqualified from a similar ONGC tender last year - will qualify for this three-year semi-submersible tender. But ONGC is clear Essar should submit feasibility and project reports detailing the planned upgrade from one of the following certification agencies: Netherlands-based ModuSpec, Texas-based ABS, OAS or Norway’s DNV.

“Has Essar booked space in a yard for this upgrade” questions a source. “Risers and anchor chains take time to be delivered.

” Transocean-owned Global Santa Fe 135 was also offered to Vietsovpetro, but did not win, as it is busy drilling offshore Congo for Total and will be free in July. According to one observer, Transocean did not bid seriously for the Vietnam contract, as it involved just one well.

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