A trio of leading engineering, procurement, construction and installation players are battling it out for a "sizeable" offshore pipelay contract from India's state-controlled Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

Multiple people familiar with the development told Upstream that up to three players recently submitted bids to ONGC for the seventh development phase of its pipeline replacement project (PRP-7) on India’s western coast.

ONGC operates some of the nation’s largest western offshore fields, some of which are maturing and require several phases of reinvestment to rejuvenate production.

The Indian giant said earlier that it plans to spend more than $4 billion this year on lump-sum turnkey projects, services and procuring materials.

Trio in fray

Those said to have submitted technical and commercial bids to ONGC include Indian engineering company Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC) and a grouping led by the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction (IOEC) company.

IOEC’s presence in the ONGC pipeline tender has surprised many industry watchers, considering its limited presence in the regional market.

However, one person said IOEC is aiming to expand its potential in the Indian sub-continent and recently carried out some work for Essar, also on India's west coast.

ONGC slowed down its offshore brownfield development drive last year, in the wake of a downturn triggered by the pandemic and low global oil prices.

However, these projects are gaining momentum since oil prices stabilised at higher levels and a huge vaccination campaign brought infection rates under control in the country.

PRP-7 is said to be one in a string of offshore developments that are likely to be launched by ONGC over the coming months.

It is also expected to set the tender ball rolling within months on multiple offshore EPCI projects focusing on its west coast operations, which are together expected to be worth upwards of $1.25 billion, Upstream understands.

These include Daman Upside Development Project, a process platform for the Ratna field, Cluster 9 development and the fifth development phase of the NBP field, project watchers said.

Scope details

The workscope for the PRP-7 project involves the EPCI of more than 256 kilometres of offshore pipelines, another person said.

The pipe-laying operations will be carried out in 39 pipeline segments.

Topsides modifications of multiple structures and demolition of nine redundant risers are also likely to be involved, project watchers have indicated.

About 38 kilometres of chemical injection pipeline segments are included in the workscope.

The PRP-7 work will be carried out across ONGC’s Mumbai High, Neelam Heera and Bassein & Satellite assets.

The tender was floated in January last year, but ONGC cancelled the process in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and sustained low commodity prices.

Six development phases executed

The company has carried out six expansion phases of its PRP over the past decade.

In 2017, ONGC awarded L&T a $200 million contract for work on PRP-4, which was left unfinished by Singaporean contractor Swiber Offshore.

Sapura won a subsea pipeline contract in 2018, comprising work on the fifth phase of PRP, also known as the subsea wells and pipeline replacement project (SSPRP-5).

Valentine Maritime won a contract in 2019 for work on the sixth expansion phase, which was believed to be worth between $150 million and $170 million.

ONGC has said it plans to spend up to 300 billion rupees ($4.04 billion) this financial year on lump-sum turnkey projects, services and procuring materials.

Half of the envisaged spending — $2.08 billion — is likely to be channelled into major lump-sum turnkey projects that include onshore and offshore developments, project watchers have said.