India’s state-controlled Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has launched a tender to hire up to 24 specialised offshore vessels to support its upstream operations.

ONGC’s requirement for two dozen specialised offshore vessels is one of the company’s most extensive vessel hiring exercises in recent years and comes as dayrates have been tightening in the offshore support sector, project watchers said.

One person from a leading global offshore support provider said there is a renewed rush among national oil companies in the Middle East and South Asia to secure long-term charters for support vessels, as they embark on fast-track capacity expansion and exploration plans.