The Indian government is clearly interested in exploiting its offshore oil and gas resources but it lacks robust shorebase facilities to support drilling activities. Jackups and floaters are often sent to drydocks in Abu Dhabi or shipyards in Singapore for required overhauls. Jump-starting the deepwater campaigns has also proved difficult and not many deepwater wells have yet been drilled. The logistics involved in bringing a drillship or semisubmersible to the Indian peninsula require careful planning and financial commitment. Mobilizing a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) is expensive and deepwater campaigns are costly. It would greatly benefit the Indian economy to establish local maritime facilities, in providing jobs and building infrastructure to enable more expedient exploration and development. There are many potential locations. According to Encarta, India's coast is 3,500 mi. long (or 4,300 mi including all the islands) fronting the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Bay of Bengal. INMEX India 2009, the 6th International Maritime Exhibition and Forum, is taking place this week in Mumbai. The inaugural address, “Transforming India as a Maritime Hub – Ground Realities & Augmenting Strategies,” by G. K. Vasan, Honorable Union Minister for Shipping, Government of India, will kick-off a series of presentations and round table sessions. Perhaps some of the speakers will use the Lagos Deep Offshore Logisitics Base (LADOL) as a model. LADOL is a new state-of-the-art logistics base being developed opposite the Port of Apapa in Lagos, owned and managed by LiLe, and a newly designated free trade zone.

"LADOL was specifically conceived and designed to support deep water offshore oil and gas operations and projects in and around Nigeria."
The LADOL base will integrate logistical maritime services (stevedoring, fabrication and assembly yards, catering, bunkering of fuel and water, facilities for the supply of bulk materials, helicopter base, open and closed storage facilities, sewage and waste treatment, potable water and medical services) with office space, hotel accommodation, restaurants, and conference and recreational facilities. What effect could the establishment of comprehensive Indian shorebases have on the drilling market? Is it unrealistic? Are the promoters, like Poe, "linking fancy unto fancy" in this pursuit? India is strategically located between Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It has a stable government, an increasingly educated work force, and established work ethic. The country's offshore resources are largely untapped and each licensing round has attracted international bidders. There is good potential for offshore oil and gas development. According to Rigzone, there are 49 MODUs in Indian waters now, including 8 drillships, 1 drilling barge, 3 semisubs, 34 jack ups, and 3 platform rigs. This is up from about 35 rigs operating offshore in 2005-6, and about 45 rigs in 2006-07. There are also three jack ups under construction, two for Essar Oilfields Services Ltd. and one for Great Offshore Ltd. Essar Shipping Ports and Logistics Ltd. placed the $440 million order for the two as-yet-unnamed jack-ups with ABG Shipyard Ltd. in 2008. ABG opened a new facility in Dahej, Gujarat State, to build the jackups in December 2008; they will be delivered in October 2010 and January 2011. Mumbai-based Great Offshore had earlier contracted with the Bharati Shipyard Ltd. to build India's first MODU, a $168 million jackup (the Samed Shikhar) at its Dabhol Shipyard. The rig was initially scheduled to be delivered by March 2009, but is now delayed until the end of March 2010. Great Offshore had a 5-year, $146,000/day contract with ONGC specifying that operations would begin May 14, but this was cancelled due to the construction delay. Bharati and ABG are the only Indian shipyards building drilling rigs for the industry. There could be room for more, given the number of wells that are required to be drilled under NELP license agreements in the coming years. To accommodate the expected activity, it behooves the industry to establish shore bases with repair facilities on both west and east coasts. A year ago, Essar had to send its Essar Wildcat semisub to Singapore for BOP repairs, in the middle of a contract with Gujarat State Petroleum Co. (GSPC). In addition to the time lost for repairs, the extra transit time to and from Singapore extended the delay in GSPC's exploration and development program. Establishing better shorebase facilities will benefit operators and keep local drilling contractors in the black.