Alejandro Maluf
General Manager North America
Techint Engineering & Construction
View from the Top

Pesquería to Deliver Progress to Nuevo Leon

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 14:45

Q: What has been Techint’s experience participating in PPPs and how could the process be improved?

A: We are seeing quite a lot of movement in PPPs in many fields, such as hospitals and oil exploration and extraction. In this context, we are monitoring the opportunities. Soon we will see more in energy through CFE. In our experience, the PPPs have proven to be the optimal scheme for deploying large projects that will boost Mexico’s economy. We feel comfortable working under this scheme as it provides sustainability and progress for society. The PPP Law, however, does not provide much flexibility for the participation of stakeholders. Usually there are stakeholders that have primary interest in the early stage of a project, like financing or EPC. In those particular cases, we are interested in participating in the construction phase, maybe even for the entire warranty period. The law has certain constraints when it comes to changing the components of the consortiums developing the projects. But we believe they are a great way of keeping the country moving because they combine the best efforts from both the public and private sectors. This translates into benefits for the entire country.

Q: What are the characteristics of the Pesquería Power Central in Nuevo Leon?

A: All the companies within Techint Group were involved in the design and development of this project. The plant is operated by Techgen and provides energy to Tenaris-Tamsa and Ternium facilities in Mexico. It was an extremely challenging project due to the advanced technology involved. This combined-cycle energy plant makes optimal use of natural gas by introducing a second stage that uses a state-of-the-art GE steam turbine, making it far more environmentally friendly. The plant consumes 35 percent less fuel and one-third of the water of a traditional plant. The whole facility produces zero wastewater because it uses water that comes from the Nuevo Leon water-treatment plant. The buildings were conceived following a green concept, allowing us to achieve LEED Certification. This certification not only guarantees the client that the project was originally conceived with sustainability in mind, but also that this approach will endure through its whole lifecycle.

Q: What are the main challenges the group faced in the construction of this project?

A: Given the magnitude of the project, safety was a major challenge. We were able to achieve 11 million man hours without a single serious accident. Safety is one of our main goals in all our projects and we always establish the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our team, especially on such a demanding project. Another important challenge was the short time in which the project was accomplished. It is not common to see a plant like this one being constructed in 28 months without cost overruns. The total amount of investment was US$1 billion. Another challenge in the early stages was the heavy rains in the areas where construction started. This type of risk, which is usually difficult to foresee, can have a great impact on a project. The only way to finish on time is to be creative and recover as much time as possible. We developed an acceleration plan for one of the critical activities, which involved the piping erection work. Working around the clock, we were able to exceed the standard of installing 450 tons per month to overcome the impact of the rain.

Q: Why did Techint decide to participate in the construction of Roberto Roca Technical School in Pesquería?

A: This is the second school of a network that we are building. The first was inaugurated in Campana, Argentina, in 2013. Education is at the heart of our community work and the Roberto Rocca Technical School is named after one of the founders of the Techint Group, an advocate of high- quality, technical education. It is an amazing feeling to see a place like Pesquería grow through the years. We have built an industrial center, the power plant and the school, and we will continue to grow. Pesquería is now producing large amounts of energy, products and at the same time local talent and knowledge for future generations. We believe that an industrial project like ours has to grow alongside the community in which it operates.