Octavio Navarro Sada
Mexico Country Manager
Heerema Marine Contractors
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Stagnant Economy Delays Tenders

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 18:38

Q: How has the last 12 months treated you in terms of PEMEX moving forward on its projects?

A: Unfortunately, PEMEX has not undertaken any new projects in the last two years. Instead, projects are nearing withdrawal, with certain companies completing developments last year and others currently finishing others that lasted three years. This round presented a significant amount of opportunities for us, and for all companies in our sector, including those providing pipelines. The industry must restart soon since lack of activity costs a great deal of money.

PEMEX needs to implement a great deal of projects, and the NOC is currently mapping different potential scenarios, and evaluating ways to increase oil production. Some of these solutions include service contracts with groups of companies, which will provide PEMEX with financing in exchange for services from the State enterprise. Nevertheless, only a small number of projects can be carried out in this way, such as those including operation and maintenance. We believe PEMEX will only implement this strategy on non-production platforms, such as those in charge of compression, habitat, or injection. Production platforms involve the mixing of various types of oil in closed valves, an activity that may present difficulties for a third party. In terms of priorities, PEMEX should be moving faster and take advantage of shallow water projects while production costs are still lower than the price of oil. Deepwater offers few profit opportunities in the current environment, making it difficult for a company with no capital to undertake projects in that area.

Q: Which companies are your vessels currently working for and on what kind of projects?

A: In October 2015, we had two vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, one of which had just finished an important project for Shell and was on its way to build a large 300m jacket in the same area. The second vessel is working for Anadarko. We also have a vessel working in Africa, and the last one is located in Australia. We do not think projects in Mexico will start for another couple of years, and our ships will be made available here when they are needed. We provide offshore installation services worldwide, and cover all demand using our four vessels. As the only country in the world with this many vessels, we seek to accommodate all of our clients, and if necessary, we can adapt to different situations in different areas.

Q: How are you working with the fabrication yards to strengthen relationships?

A: In the case of PEMEX, we got together with some of the yards it plans on working with before the design phase began, in order to contribute as much as possible. We expect our first vessels to arrive in the country in 2020, although this estimation depends largely on the date of the bid for deepwater fields. As there have not been any new contracts, we have not yet had the opportunity to work with PEMEX’s procurement category managers. In essence, there is very little contact between PEMEX and installation companies for new projects. The last project we completed for the State enterprise ended in November 2014. Although we reallocated our human resources, we still have a few employees in Tampico, Ciudad del Carmen, and Villahermosa. Things are happening at PEMEX, but the migration of contracts and the establishing of farm- outs have been unexpectedly slow. Moreover, PEMEX is not being helped by the current oil prices, a phenomenon from which the entire economy is suffering.

Q: To what extent do you think that the deepwater round is delayed due to the oil price?

A: I believe oil prices are a large factor, and the terms and conditions of tenders should be adjusted to reflect this, or else the government may find itself without any bidders. When this happens and Heerema brings a vessel back to Mexico, we will be working with the newly-formed ASEA. We are a company that places considerable importance on safety and environmental matters, and endorses all new regulations surrounding these matters. The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has worked on establishing national norms with PEMEX in the past, and I am sure it will now do the same with ASEA in order to guarantee safety in the industry and the protection of the environment.