Unlucky PMT tries a fourth time to hire jack-up

Vol 14, PW 20 (07 Apr 11) Exploration & Production

Usually it’s third time lucky.

But BG, ONGC and Reliance are about to try for the fourth time to hire a jack-up to drill from the newly installed PL platform at the Panna field offshore Mumbai. PETROWATCH learns the Panna, Mukta and Tapti (PMT) field joint operators are expected to invite Expressions of Interest (EoIs) sometime this week or next for two rigs needed by October 15 this year.

One jack-up is needed to drill six development wells from the PL platform in addition to three other Panna wells, while the other is needed to drill three ‘extended reach directional infill’ wells at the Mid Tapti field. In three previous tenders, the PMT partners could not get a rig to drill at PL, for one reason or another.

Most recently, BG received just two bids in a tender issued on March 5 to hire a rig for PL. By the March 11 bid submission deadline, only Transocean’s Harvey H.

Ward and Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Sovereign were in the race. But Ocean Sovereign was not even evaluated as it was expected to become available only in June, well after BG’s April 30 rig mobilisation deadline.

BG hoped to hire Harvey, we hear, but problems emerged when Transocean demanded ‘soil bore data’ for the PL location as the tender provided data for a location some 70 metres away. Transocean’s marine warranty surveyor Noble Denton insisted on the PL location data for “a precise opinion” on the suitability of Harvey H.

Ward for this drilling campaign. After discussing Transocean’s demand with its partners, BG hired ONGC to get soil samples for PL.

But Noble Denton finally decided the PL location was unsuitable for Harvey based on the soil sample report submitted by ONGC on March 11. This completely dashed BG’s hopes of hiring a rig to begin PL drilling before the onset of this year’s monsoon.