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FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTINDIA


Essar and Punj Lloyd from India, which get the structures produced abroad under a joint venture partnership and offer no opportunity to Indian forwarders.” However, Rajesh Sonpal, managing director of Ranco Energy Group and director of RST Infratech, paints a very promising picture of the opportunities for the heavy lift and project specialists. He informed: “In the next 18 months at a very conservative estimate we can expect a cash flow of USD75 million to USD90 million in the Indian offshore for the heavy lift and other transport industry. “Especially, in some of the cases where there have been successful oil strikes, the production stage will be taken up by ONGC on both the coasts [of India] and by Reliance Industries in the Krishna Godavari basin and NEC-25 gas block in the Bay of Bengal on the east coast.”


In order to boost India’s production of oil and natural gas, the government brought in the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in 1997-98. The move was also designed to provide an equal opportunity for both public and private sector companies involved in the exploration and production of


hydrocarbons, with the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) acting as a nodal agency for implementation. Bidding has recently been completed in the NELP-IX round. The NELP-VIII round held in 2010 saw 400 production sharing contracts being signed, of which 168 are in operation.


Huge potential


With regard to future opportunities, Sonpal contended that the discoveries made so far are from awards made in the NELP-IV and NELP-V rounds. But much seismic work is still happening and a lot of drilling is still taking place. If oil strikes continue at the current rate of around 10-15 percent, it would mean there is a huge potential. “In the newer [NELP] rounds… there will have been USD1.5 billion committed – that is the total across all operations,” observed Sonpal. “But there are a number of issues involved. Some operators are still going through the seismic programme. In the shallow offshore, heavy lift requirements are limited. But as the search for oil and gas goes into the deeper waters the need for heavier structures will go up


dramatically. The major heavy lift deployment is made during the development stage and most of it during the erection and commissioning of the platforms.


“So my estimation for the total unfinished investment will be USD900million to USD1 billion,” Sonpal contended. “Once they get to the production stage, the requirement for heavy lift transport, even by the most conservative estimates, will be USD100 million to USD150 million. If you look further, the opportunities as a result of the latest rounds of NELP for the next two- and-half to three years (by 2017) for freight forwarding will exceed USD200 million easily.”


Though it is late in the day, Indian stakeholders are waking up to the offshore boom that has previously been considered the domain of the specialist global operators. Confidence is now high among players such as Pipavav, ABG and Bharati Shipyard as well as some EPC contractors. But L&T’s Parikh does not expect change. “Even if they bid for the revamp of the platforms of ONGC tender, would the Indian players succeed in out-bidding the global bidders?” he asked. HLPFI


120


July/August 2013


www.heavyliftpfi.com


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