Fugro pulls out of gas hydrate tender issued by DGH

Vol 9, PW 6 (30 Jun 05) Exploration & Production

Indias emerging gas hydrate programme faced a setback early this month when Fugro pulled out of the race for the tender to hire a contractor.

Issued on 11th May by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, the tender documents were sent to Transocean, Fugro and Schlumberger the three pre-qualified companies. The DGH had set 27th June as the date for receiving techno-commercial bids.

There may be some delay in the project, an oil ministry source tells us. We learn a pre-bid meeting was held in Delhi on 20th June and was attended by only Transocean and Schlumberger.

Transocean, it turns out, submitted a proposal to the DGH suggesting a consortium approach to the exercise. The proposal, we are told, did not find favour.

The proposal does not suit us, reveals a source. We are looking at other alternatives.

Among the alternatives examined is a government-to-government agreement with Japan, one of the few countries in the world with an active gas hydrate research programme. In mid-June an Indian government team travelled to Japan to further explore the proposal.

Transocean and Fugro were in the race to supply ships for the Indian gas hydrate programme while Schlumberger is the common service provider to both ships. In early May, Fugro told the DGH that its ship Fugro Explorer would not be available for the tender.

Fugro Explorer got a major contract from another gas hydrate programme in the Gulf of Mexico, says a source. The US government is part of this project and Fugro Explorer will be there for about a year and a half.

Fugro Explorer had just finished a gas hydrate campaign in Japan when she was signed up for the US contract. However, Fugro is not completely out of the Indian gas hydrate programme.

Fugro has told the DGH it is willing to be part of any consortium to take the programme ahead. The DGH, we are told, is not happy with Fugros withdrawal as it leaves only Transocean in the race with a ship for the project.

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