Battle lines have been drawn in a contest for a coveted rig contract from India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for two high-spec, deep-water drillships required for operations off the country’s east coast.

Frederik Mohn, director Transocean. Photo: Ida von Hanno Bast

The contest comes as oil prices remain high and the availability of deep-water drillships is tightening, driving up dayrates to levels not seen in recent years.

Two leading international rig-owners have submitted bids to ONGC, with the operator expected to decide on its preferred drillships within a month or two, multiple people familiar with the development said.