Aban Emerges Winner in ONGC's Seven-Rig Tender

After receiving the undertaking it wanted, ONGC opened the price bids of technically qualified rigs in each of the five categories.

Category-I originally saw three rigs on offer: Ocean Heritage (Diamond Offshore), Perro Negro 3 (Saipem) and Pride West Virginia (Aban Loyd). ONGC wants one rig in this category.

Ocean Heritage was technically unsuitable and Saipem said Perro Negro 3 was unavailable. Pride West Virginia was the only rig left and Aban offered it at the 'operating day rate' of $54,350; a 'non-operating day rate' of $51,600; and a 'moving day rate' of $54,350. Aban did not quote any 'equipment breakdown day rate'. Pride West Virginia is presently drilling for ONGC in the western offshore so Aban did not quote any mobilization or demobilization fees.

Drillers were surprised at Aban's "low rate" for this category. "Today's rate for this type of rig is $59,000," said one source. "Aban was probably wary of competition from Perro Negro 3 and deliberately bid low."

In Category-II, ONGC wanted two rigs. Aban was the only driller here with Hit Drill-1 as well as Aban-III and will get the contract.

Aban quoted the 'operating day rate' of $57,750; a 'non-operating day rate' of $54,800; and a 'moving day rate' of $57,750 for each rig. No mobilization or demobilization fee or 'equipment breakdown day rate' was quoted.

In Category-III ONGC wanted one rig and received three offers: Noble George McLeod (Jindal Drilling), JT Angel (Transocean) and Ocean Sovereign (Diamond Offshore). Tough competition was expected between Noble George McLeod and JT Angel.

Unexpectedly, ONGC will get neither. Jindal told ONGC that Noble George was on contract in Abu Dhabi and unavailable before 2006. Transocean said it plans to send JT Angel offshore Indonesia and ONGC found Ocean Sovereign technically unsuitable. With no valid bids, ONGC will have to invite a fresh tender for 'Category-III'.

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