The Paradigm Shift in the Energy SectorBy César Vera Méndez | Mon, 02/01/2021 - 09:00
These are amazing times we are living in. The model of operating, positioning, branding and executing the traditional practices of the energy industry, and particularly in the oil and gas sector, have been forced to shift into survival mode, one might say, due to the many and frequently changing external factors that have developed worldwide.
Most recently, COVID-19 has played the role of accelerating digitalization and remote work. Added to that is the factor of complexity from the longest-ever low cycle for oil prices. And just when most companies have adapted to working within the US$50-$60 per barrel range, an excess of reserves has been triggered by the pandemic. Once again, breaking paradigms and reinventing our way of working are priorities.
Nevertheless, those with a long-term view and who can quickly move through the four phases of change become promoters. They will take this opportunity to effectively become efficient and succeed.
Take deepwater projects in Mexico as an example: International players took a deep breath and moved on with their exploration plans, aiming to exceed the 30 percent success rate that deepwater projects typically score. But how? Well, by breaking the paradigm and shifting paradigms across the project components.
One example is in the cost optimization arena. Deepwater is by nature “expensive,” or higher in cost than shallow water or onshore exploration drilling, as is the model of personnel transportation. This is typically done by helicopter (with the consequent associated cost). What if this could be done mostly by boat, without compromising the health, safety and security of the team, yet with both components: efficiency (minimum cost) and effectiveness (do it right the first time and at the right time)?
Taking small steps, maximizing the use of the current resources available and opening ways to newer or improved technologies is one way to approach it. In our case, we have partnered with our client and enhanced one of our Fast Crew and Supply Vessels for extra comfort and safety, while optimizing conditions for speed improvement and low emissions.
Time and experience will determine when and how to pivot. The goal, in my opinion, is to combine the 5Ps with agility. Always in collaboration mode, my weaknesses can be compensated by your strengths and vice versa, always with success in mind while also considering contingency plans.
Given the production rates in deepwater on the US side of the Gulf of Mexico, it would seem to be a no-brainer decision to ramp up the deepwater projects in Mexico, right? Well, 12 years of exploration have proven that at some point this move forward was needed but who could have anticipated the factors in recent years that conspired to create financial barriers?
Mexico, a traditionally resilient nation, remains the frontier to be in and part of.
Agility, planning, small, certain steps and paradigm shifting should lead us to success. We are living in an era of diversity, with multigenerational professionals in the workplace who have a wealth of ideas that, in the right mix, would pave the way forward. That is a factor to take advantage of.