Rob Bain
Managing Director
Paradigm Flow Services
Fernando Hernández
Fernando Hernández
Vice President of Commercial Americas
Paradigm Flow Services
View from the Top

Bringing Value to Pipelines by Extending their Lifetime

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 11:51

Q: What is Paradigm’s background in technology development and its application in the Gulf of Mexico?

RB: We have extensive experience remediating blockages in pipelines. We develop our own patented technologies that can enter these systems under pressure and remove blockages much more effectively than conventional methods. Paradigm has been active in the Gulf of Mexico since 2012, when we started offering our technologies for the deepwater segment to companies facing blockagerelated issues. Since then, we have built a global track record and have led projects on the US side of the Gulf of Mexico, Western Africa, the Caspian Sea and Europe. An important element of our technologies is that they are applicable to any oil and gas facility, even those that handle heavy oil like those in Mexico.

Q: How would you assess market opportunities in Mexico and what are your expansion plans here?

FH: We see ourselves in a privileged position to expand our market share because of our previous experience here, where we recently carried out a successful project for PEMEX’s polyethylene plant. In my particular case, I was involved in the Mexican market before the reform, during its application and in the post-reform scenario that has seen blocks in deep and shallow waters awarded. Our market position is based on four points, where our technologies apply: pre-reform shallow-water projects where our technologies enhance production, shallowwater projects awarded to IOCs, onshore projects based on previously-executed operations in Mexico and the long-term projects that will arise from the deepwater blocks being awarded.

RB: We started looking strategically to Mexico because we are aware of how mature the industry is and we want to introduce technologies that add value to this region. Part of this expansion involves Central America and we are assessing how to raise the awareness in this region about the technologies we offer.

Q: How can Paradigm add value to the Mexican market based on your expertise abroad?

FH: We specialize in securing optimal production and flows. Our goal is to guarantee that the investments companies make in their fields produce returns, as we are the premier company in blockage removal to continue for wells to optimally flow. For us, Mexico offers a clean slate to foster training in new technologies and to implement proactive strategies to protect production.

RB: We have changed the business model from a reactive to a proactive model in which we work and advise operators on how to prevent blockages and use our technologies to access their production systems. We provide them with lessons learned from case studies, smarter ways of maximizing the returns on their assets and practical ways to minimize the impact of potential hurdles on their production lines. We act as their insurance for pipeline flow restrictions that will eventually happen and impact their productivity.

Q: How is the technology introduced by Paradigm making it easier for operators to carry out cleaning activities?

RB: We developed a technology called Flexi-Coil that has been in the market for eight years and has constantly been updated. We came up with this idea after working with North Sea operators and witnessing the setbacks they were experiencing with blockages and restrictions in their topside pipework, where they were required to shut the process down and isolate the facilities to enable removal of the deposition. 

We developed this new technology using the concept of coil tubing and deployed a modular and lightweight coil that was more flexible but stronger and made of hybrid-composite materials. We designed a bespoke cleaning head composed of various tools that allow effective cleaning over very long distances. The cleaning head works in a different manner with multiple valves and nozzles that can create five or 10 times more flow than the conventional method. We created a system whereby it is possible to insert a flexible miniature coil into a subsea pipeline and navigate bends and long distances in horizontal pipes to remove blockages or heavily constricted areas.

This is unlike anything seen before in the industry as it is quite complex and we have had great success with its development. We are now introducing different Flexi-Coil units with varied applications for land-based systems, deepwater, shallow waters or injection of chemicals and gas lift.

Q: What is your vision for Paradigm’s development in the Mexican market?

RB: We are speaking to different partners to potentially invest with us and we need to position our equipment in a way that will enable demonstrations and trials for PEMEX and other players in the market. We are targeting to execute further work, within the next 12-18 months so we can deepen our technological footprint in the market. We have taken this approach in other regions and Mexico should be no different. We believe there is market potential here and that our technologies will bring value to this market, but first we need to create a pool of clients and strategic partners.

Q: What policies should the next administration embrace to boost the industry’s development?

FH: The key point is to focus on technology so as to further cross-pollinate international and Mexican technologies. This will determine how far the local industry will go.

RB: To enable technological advances, the administration should adopt models that are similar to those of international IOCs regarding efficiency and embracing technology. The mindset has to change and more technology centers need to be developed. Also, fiscal incentives, such as tax breaks and commercial models to reduce risks from technology adoption, can be crucial for the country to become attractive to technology-based companies.