Donato Santomauro
Country Manager Mexico
View from the Top

Branching out from Midstream to Upstream

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 15:47

Q: What lessons has Bonatti learned from its projects in Mexico?

A: Our first projects in Mexico have been with clients such as TransCanada and IEnova. We elevated our QHSE standards to comply with our clients’ requirements and we improved collaboration with local firms. To this end we invested significantly in Mexico by establishing a logistics hub in San Miguel de Allende. The hub includes a facility for prefabrication activities and the storage and maintenance of most of our machinery and heavy equipment. We plan to move some of our engineering and procurement personnel to San Miguel de Allende to better support our projects. The city is centrally located and our people can easily move to the projects that we have today or to other areas where we expect to be working, such as the north of the country. Our hub is now a key facility for our activities; we have learned that by anticipating our clients’ needs we make a difference in the market.

Our first projects in Mexico ranged from pipelines to the deployment of compression stations and our intent now is to expand our business to other activities, such as developing storage terminals and upstream and O&M services. 

Q: Why consider upstream services when that is not a business unit typically associated with Bonatti?

A: We see many areas where a third party can come in and help oil and gas producers optimize their production. We see this as an opportunity for Bonatti because we offer a wide range of services for marginal fields and remote wells that combine EPC and O&M expertise to provide production optimization solutions. Our approach allows the client to move its costs from CAPEX to OPEX by sharing costs and responsibilities with the contractor. This unit has proven successful for us in other countries and we wish to expand this knowledge to Mexico. 

In upstream, we support the operation at the wellhead by installing equipment that helps pump natural gas and oil to optimize production. Additionally, our early stage approach helps clients start production more quickly using tailored equipment.

Q: Having had problems in the past with the permitting process, how has this improved in 2018?

A: Although Bonatti does not typically deal with major permits, our work has been affected multiple times due to delays with the permitting process. In recent years, we have seen a consistent effort to make this situation less problematic for our clients and we are confident that a stronger collaboration between the government, our clients and companies like ours will help align the interests of all in order to deliver the projects within the expected time and budget.

Q: How do you build your strategic alliances in Mexico and what characteristics do you look for in other companies?

A: Most infrastructure projects entail high risk. We seek to diversify that risk by bringing in another company or partner that can complement our offering with specialized capabilities. For example, although we have an engineering capability of around 40 professionals here in Mexico, we sometimes rely on specialized international and local engineering companies to provide additional expertise. 
 A key piece of our strategy is to benefit from engineering and construction firms that have already worked with international clients.