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ONGC launches tender for Ratna and R-series

Indian giant invites bids for offshore infrastructure, with submissions expected to take place in July 

INDIA'S Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has launched the tender process for the offshore infrastructure required for its $600 million plus Ratna and R-Series shallow-water development off the country’s west coast.

Industry sources said ONGC has invited bids from leading engineering, procurement and construction contractors and technical and commercial offers are likely to be submitted in two months’ time.

“We have just received the bid document and the submission is expected by the middle of July,” a source said.

The project’s workscope involves five new wellhead platforms, with nine slots each, named as R-7A, R-9A, R-10A, E-12B, R-13A.

The five platforms are planned to be linked to 19 production wells, a source added.

In addition, the project includes more than 140 kilometres of subsea pipelines, to be installed in nine segments.

Modifications at the R-12A platform and more than 60 kilometres of composite cables are also said to be included in the project’s workscope.

While the overall Ratna and R-series project is valued at more than $600 million, one industry source suggested the offshore facilities tender is expected to be worth between $350 million and $400 million.

The Ratna and R-series offshore project is the largest shallow-water contract being offered by ONGC this year and is likely to be tightly contested by leading domestic and international EPC players.

Among the international contenders, US giant McDermott, Malaysia’s SapuraKencana, Italy’s Saipem, Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company, PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation and France's TechnipFMC are among those are expected to compete.

Domestic players such as Larsen & Toubro and Afcons could also show interest, most likely in a consortium with international contractors.

“The scope involves a significant pipelay workscope and domestic contractors are expected to tie-up with international contractors, which can offer pipelay expertise,” a source said.

The Ratna and R-Series offshore tender is expected to be among the first projects for which India’s new purchase preference policy, linked to local content, will be applicable.

Contractors that meet at least 20% local content for the offshore project are likely to be provided with a 10% price preference in the tender process.

However, some suggested ONGC is yet to clarify the position on the local content policy and more detail is expected to emerge over the next few weeks.

The Ratna and R-Series fields lie about 130 kilometres southwest of Mumbai, in water depths ranging from 40 to 50 metres.

The fields have the potential to produce 15,000 barrels per day of oil at peak, sources have added.

The Ratna and R-Series development is likely to yield 61 million barrels oil and 1.696 billion cubic metres of gas on a cumulative basis.

In addition to the latest offshore tender, a quartet of contractors submitted bids to ONGC in March for the refurbishment of the R-12-A wellhead platform, which forms part of the Ratna and R-series project.

The Indian giant is planning fast-track production from the R-12-A platform within months, with the help of a mobile offshore production unit.

ONGC started production in 1983 from the Ratna and R-series project, but shut in the fields during the 1990s when the government decided to privatise them. 

They were then awarded to an Essar-led consortium in 1996 but a final production sharing contract was never signed, so the current government last year decided to return the Ratna and R-series fields to ONGC.