ONGC planning 3D at two Kutch blocks

Vol 14, PW 4 (12 Aug 10) Exploration & Production

ONGC is wasting no time at two NELP-VIII blocks offshore Gujarat, even though the ink has barely dried on the PSCs it signed on June 30 in Delhi.

PETROWATCH learns ONGC is holding a pre-bid today (August 12) in Mumbai for a seismic acquisition programme at adjacent shallow water blocks GK-OSN-2009/1 and GK-OSN-2009/2. Bids will be received and opened on September 17 and ONGC wants the selected contractor(s) to mobilise by November 15 and complete the assignment by May 31, 2011.

But big seismic names like PGS, WesternGeco and Polarcus are expected to stay away. This is because ONGC wants ‘dual-source multi-streamer’ vessels with an obsolete minimum of four streamers for this contract.

These days most seismic players have vessels with up to 22 streamers. Why has ONGC set such low entry requirements in this tender “Is this tailor-made for someone with a four-streamer vessel looking for work” wonders a seismic contractor.

Cynics tells us ONGC wants to favour India’s only offshore seismic contractor Fathom Offshore which has a four-streamer vessel Geo Hind Sagar, formerly Fugro’s Geo Baltic, sitting idle at Mumbai port. All other companies likely to bid for this ONGC contract are foreign and include Fugro, CGGVeritas, Norway’s Bergen Offshore Services and Russian companies SMNG, DMNG, and MAGE.

As the only Indian company, Fathom would get a 10% price preference over foreign competitors. But as a newcomer, Fathom needs a foreign partner to meet ONGC’s requirement of at least five years seismic acquisition experience shooting a minimum 1000-sq km of 3D, using at least a four-streamer vessel.

It’s believed Fathom will partner Fugro, but Fathom won’t confirm this. At the 1264-sq km GK-OSN-2009/1 block, ONGC wants 910-sq km of 3D, 36,400-lkm of ‘prime’ 2D and 7280-lkm of ‘infill’ 2D; at nearby 1242-sq km block GK-OSN-2009/2 , ONGC wants 956-sq km 3D, 38,240-lkm of prime 2D and 7648-lkm of infill 2D.

LNG Summit