Pipavav moves HC against ONGC on Bombay High project

Pipavav moves HC against ONGC on Bombay High project

Mumbai: A consortium led by Pipavav Shipyard has moved Bombay High Court challenging the legality of the decision of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) to decline them award of a contract to carry out surveys and various other works of six well head platforms for the Bombay High.

The petition is coming up for hearing tomorrow before a bench headed by Justice B H Marlapalle.

The petitioning consortium comprising Iranian Offshore Engineering Company, Dolphin Offshore Enterprises (India) and Pipav Shipyard Ltd under the name of Pipavav-IOEC-Dolphin Consortium has alleged that ONGC declined them the contract despite they being the lowest bidders and duly-qualified.

In May, ONGC invited bids for Surveys, Design, Engineering, Procurement, Fabrication, Loadout, Tie down/ Sea Fasting Tow-out/Sail-out,Transportation , Installation, Hook-up, Testing, Pre-commissioning and Commissioning of six well head platforms of the Bombay High.

In September, the petitioner Consortium submitted its Unpriced Techno-commercial Bid and Priced Commercial Bid, which were uploaded on its website. In all, 11 parties submitted bids.

The Pipavav-IOEC-Dolphin Consortium contends that ONGC declined it the $ 229,089,842 contract award to favour UAE-based National Petroleum Construction Company, thereby, causing severe prejudice to the interests of the petitioner consortium and denying it the status of the lowest-qualified bidder.

It alleges that ONGC has sought to deny them their status as the lowest qualified bidder on the basis of arbitrary, unreasonable and discriminatory interpretation of tender conditions that place a foreign bidder on an unfairly advantageous footing than petitioner consortium who qualify as domestic bidders.

The petitioner argues that ONGC has denied the petitioner consortium the benefit of “price preferential clause" in the bid evaluation criteria, which provides that subject to certain criteria being fulfilled, domestic bidders (like petitioner consortium) would be entitled to a price preferential of 10% over the lowest-accepted (quoted) foreign bid.

In this case, the petition claimed that the criteria has been fulfilled by Pipavav-IOEC-Dolphin and yet they were denied the benefit of this price preference clause.

As per the revised schedule under the tender document, the date of intimation of the notice of award of contract by ONGC is 24 December.

However, the petitioner consortium contends that it seriously apprehends that on the basis of decision of an Independent External Monitor, internally communicated to ONGC, the latter may award the contract to UAE-based National Petroleum Construction Company any time prior to 24 December 24.