Essar Wildcat to begin ONGC contract in July

Vol 14, PW 22 (05 May 11) Exploration & Production

Semi-submersible Essar Wildcat is on track to begin a three-well contract with ONGC in July this year.

“ONGC is yet to issue a LoA (Letter of Award) to us,” confirms a senior Essar source. “But the award (of this contract) was cleared by the EPC (ONGC’s Executive Purchase Committee) at the end of April.

The LoA should come within the next week.” He adds that only ‘procedural formalities’ are holding up the LoA.

Wildcat emerged winner in ONGC’s tender to hire a semi-submersible to drill three wells in water depths of up to 300 metres when price bids were opened on March 17, 2011. Essar quoted an Effective Day Rate (EDR) of $301,000 for Wildcat to beat the $305,000/day offered by sole rival Transocean for its rig MG Hulme Jr.

ONGC wants Essar to mobilise the rig to the G-4 deepwater area in the KG basin within 90 days of receiving the LoA. This shouldn’t present a problem as Wildcat has finished drilling her second well for Vietsovpetro offshore Vietnam.

“Testing the well is likely to be completed in the next 40 days (from May 3),” we are told. “Wildcat could reach Indian waters within the next 70 days.

” Realistically, Essar expects Wildcat to reach Indian waters by the middle of July. It could take 23 days at most for the rig to sail from Vietnam to India but Wildcat might spend an additional three or four days being inspected at a yard in Singapore.

“This inspection is entirely at our own discretion,” we hear. “We want to carry out equipment checks before beginning the new contract as it cannot be done while the rig is drilling or sailing.

” Essar has placed orders for three ‘well-heads’ which ONGC controversially asked bidders to offer in this contract with the rig.