Four in battle for ONGC’s Neelam redevelopment

Indian state company has integrated offshore contract up for grabs off west coast

A quartet of contenders are facing off in the contest for an integrated offshore contract for India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), covering its Neelam redevelopment and B-173-AC projects off the country’s west coast.

Industry sources said the four players have submitted technical and commercial bids to ONGC and the state-owned giant is expected to award the offshore contract as soon as this month.

ONGC’s much-delayed Neelam redevelopment project includes a new process platform and other offshore facilities that together are thought to be valued at more than $250 million.

The offshore contractors that submitted bids to ONGC include Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC), a grouping of Malaysia’s SapuraKencana and domestic player Afcons and another consortium involving French giant Technip along with Malaysia Marine Heavy Engineering (MMHE), industry sources said.

SapuraKencana and NPCC have offered aggressive bids to ONGC during 2016 for separate projects, while L&T is seen as hungry for work after losing out on some crucial ONGC jobs last year, even though it did well internationally, notably in Saudi Arabia.

SapuraKencana recently won ONGC’s B-127 subsea pipelines project, while NPCC won the third tender for life extension of wellhead platforms (LEWP-3) project.

Industry sources suggested all four bidders stand a fair chance for the integrated Neelam project.

Some other Southeast Asian yards were also thought to be in the fray for the offshore project, but did not in the end submit bids, sources said.

Neelam’s workscope includes a new process platform — NLG — that will be bridge-linked to the existing NLP platform, and will include a new gas compressor with capacity of 1.71 million cubic metres per day.

Three wellhead platforms are also included in the workscope.

The NLM-12 and NLM-13 wellhead platforms will have six slots each, while the B-173-AC unit will have nine slots.

Three clamp-on structures — NLM-5, NLM-6 and NLM-8 — are also part of the EPCI contract. The successful contractor will also be responsible for laying six segments of subsea pipelines totalling almost 32 kilometres, sources said, while topsides modifications on eight existing platforms are also required.

ONGC re-tendered the integrated Neelam project in September, as it did not award the offshore project after the previous tender exercise.

A consortium of Singapore-based Swiber and Indonesia’s Gunanusa Utama Fabricators had earlier emerged as the lowest bidder in the previous tender with a bid of about $221 million, and was expected to win the offshore project. However, ONGC decided against awarding a contract following complaints by rival contenders and amid Swiber’s emerging financial problems.

ONGC has included the entire workscope from the previous tender and added another wellhead platform and a few pipeline segments in the new workscope, sources said.

The Neelam redevelopment project alone is likely to produce about 20 million barrels of incremental crude and 4.8 billion cubic metres of additional gas by 2034 to 2035.