ONGC to Launch 3D Seismic Tender this Month

If all goes to plan ONGC will invite bids this month to conduct a 3D seismic survey covering approximately 12,150-sq km off India's east coast.

"We are finalizing the blocks," an ONGC source tells PETROWATCH. "Most of them are NELP-III or NELP-IV blocks."

ONGC hopes to shoot roughly 8000-sq km in the Mahanadi and Krishna Godavari basins and the remaining 4000-sq km in the Cauvery basin. "We are convinced the eastern offshore is the key to our success," he said. "We want the best seismic possible."

This tender is expected to revitalize the dormant seismic scene in Indian waters. Fierce competition is expected among bidders because ONGC's preferred contractor LARGE of Russia isn't expected to bid.

By contrast Veritas is gearing up to bid aggressively. "We have done our homework," reveals a source. "If LARGE is absent we can bid without running a loss." PGS is also planning to bid. "Much depends on vessel availability at the time the tender is released and the time frame in which ONGC expects the work to be complete," reveals a source.

In September 2003, PGS won an earlier 3D contract for the west coast by a narrow margin of $1m when it quoted $77m against LARGE's bid of $78m. For that work, ONGC reveals that PGS has been unable to complete 5% of the seismic commitment and that the company has been given till November 30th to complete the job. "We have not imposed liquidated damages because 95% of the work has been done," adds ONGC. PGS vessels Nordic Explorer and Ramform Vanguard are working for ONGC on the west coast.

French company CGG is not expected to bid because it has already deployed four multi-streamer vessels for another ONGC contract and has no more to spare for India.

Other companies expected to bid are Schlumberger subsidiary WesternGeco, Fugro Geoteam, SMNG and Multiwave Geophysical.

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