Anticipating the Offshore Gold RushWed, 02/21/2018 - 11:24
Q: How have you attracted business from the new operators coming to Mexico?
A: Six years ago, when it was clear that the Energy Reform in Mexico would take place, we started to travel the world and meet with international oil companies. Obviously in Mexico, PEMEX and the companies around PEMEX knew us but E&P companies had never heard of us. To change that, we started knocking on doors one by one until we were given meetings. Fortunately, we were well-received and international oil companies became aware that there were offshore logistics companies in Mexico with our profile.
Q: What elements of marine operations have been difficult for your clients?
A: One example is that the paperwork for getting a pilot is different here, with a particular methodology and scheduling system. It can take from two to 24 hours before a helicopter gets to a vessel, depending on how busy the pilots are. In ports in other parts of the world, a pilot is requested and in less than 15 minutes the pilot is on board.
The API system, despite the fact that ports are wellorganized and greatly help the companies they serve, also has certain protocols that can be difficult. A vessel cannot just arrive and enter immediately. It has to make the request to enter the port with enough lead time and follow certain procedures. Marítima Internacional coordinates very carefully with our clients to make sure that when the vessel arrives it can enter the port without delays. We ask what our clients’ operations are and then anticipate their schedule by doing things beforehand. When the vessel arrives, it enters the port within 10 minutes.
Q: What can be done to address bottlenecks at Mexico's ports and how does Maritima contribute?
A: At ports such as Tampico, Dos Bocas, Seybaplaya, Ciudad del Carmen and Frontera, there is more specialization in the offshore industry but what is lacking is space. When there are not enough berths, everybody faces delays. This will have to be solved in less than one year because the offshore boom will detonate beginning in 2019. From 2019 to 2023, there will be an excessive amount of work for everybody.
The lack of space is a major problem. For example, in Ciudad del Carmen, where there is space, there is no draft for larger vessels. Dos Bocas, which does have the draft, only has 2km of dock space, meaning that only seven to 10 vessels can be accommodated there. Last year, when ENI, Talos Energy and Hokchi Energy were working in Dos Bocas there were major capacity problems. And those were only the operators; there were also companies working for PEMEX entering and leaving. Fortunately, Marítima Internacional has 80 percent market share. Since we now know how the port works, we order our vessels in an effective way. But those vessels not working with us, such as those of Hokchi Energy, sometimes had to wait up to 24 hours to dock, because we beat them there.
Q: How are you preparing for Mexico’s push into deepwater? A: We detected that in the port of Tampico, even though the API can cater to clients, there is also a great deal of commercial shipping. Commercial shipping brings with it a significant customs burden as well as the bureaucracy of the API itself. Up to 24 hours can pass before anything enters, and if it is the weekend the delay can even last until Monday.
We detected this situation and partnered with a company that has two private yards with full sea access and a total area of 40ha. These yards have all the shore-based infrastructure required by E&P companies that are going to develop their deep and shallow-water projects in the Perdido area. Everything is ready for the arrival of clients. We are in talks with Schlumberger and Halliburton to determine if they want to install a factory there. We have been preparing this project for three years.