Aban is frontrunner to win GSPC rig tender

Vol 14, PW 9 (21 Oct 10) Exploration & Production

Transocean and Saipem are out of the race in a GSPC jack-up tender where Aban Offshore is fast emerging as the favourite.

In late August, GSPC issued a tender to hire a jack-up for a three exploration well drilling campaign at its 1520-sq km offshore Mumbai block MB-OSN-2004/1. PETROWATCH learns GSPC received technical and price bids by September 13 (last month) from five drillers.

Transocean offered jack-up Harvey H Ward; Hercules Offshore offered Hercules 170; Aban Offshore offered Aban-IV; Great Offshore offered Amarnath - formerly known as Ensco 50; and Saipem offered Perro Negro 2. But on October 11, GSPC decided not to open the Transocean and Saipem price bids, as these two companies refused to accept “changes” to the tender terms.

Details are sketchy, but an industry source believes these changes involved mobilisation schedules, fees and penalties. “Transocean and Saipem said the terms were one-sided,” we hear.

This means Aban-IV now stands the best chance of walking away with the contract. She finishes her current ONGC contract in December and could easily be mobilised in time for GSPC’s drilling campaign.

Great Offshore and Hercules Offshore, we are told, are both at a disadvantage, as their rigs are ‘stacked’ at yards in the Middle East. “GSPC would rather choose a rig already drilling in India,” we hear, “so it can save mobilisation and demobilisation costs.

” Separately, the MB-OSN-2004/1 consortium met in September to decide locations and spud dates for the exploration wells. “Two locations were finalised,” we learn, “and the third location will be finalised by the end of this month (October).

December 25 (Christmas) is the tentative spud date for the first well.” GSPC needs to drill three committed wells before the four-year Phase-I at this block ends on June 11 next year.

They will be drilled to 2400 metres, 2500 metres, and 2800 metres respectively.