Charting Pemex’s Midstream Infrastructure

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 11:47

To optimize its operating performance, Pemex has had to devise an outline of Mexican territory that indicates the di†erent prospective and proven hydrocarbon resources, and a map of the transportation network needed to move this oil and gas around the country. In this cartographic work, technology has become a central component for improving accuracy. It has evolved from identifying the approximate location of assets to a point where real-time sites can be exactly scanned and traced for their specific conditions to be supervised. The e†ects of this progression have influenced operational e·ciency: real-time control solutions have allowed Pemex to replace corrective maintenance with preventative equipment upkeep to maximize performance in its midstream facilities.

The focus of C&C Technologies in Mexico is to deliver survey services through di†erent technologies and help companies to better understand the current state of their infrastructure. The oil and gas business has served as a key driver for the company’s operations in Mexico. As a company with broad expertise in surveying, mapping, and inspection, C&C Technologies is well positioned to bring innovative o†shore technologies to the onshore market, which has enabled the company to win an eight-year contract with Pemex in the South Region. With the philosophy of “no downtime” the company has dedicated itself to meeting Pemex’s needs.

“Any o†shore operation costs a great deal of money, so companies have to depend upon reliable technologies to plan their strategies correctly,” states José Aguilar, Director General of C&C Technologies. “We recently developed a trustworthy third generation Global Positioning System (GPS), which reduces downtime significantly.” The system is being used in Mexico to map out Pemex’s facilities, with a special focus on old forgotten pipeline systems that might prove useful for the company in the future.

In the past, Pemex used to perform infrastructure surveys by hand: the mapping of possible fractures within the distribution network had to be analyzed in person. “The old formats and procedures that Pemex used in this kind of service were outdated,” Aguilar says. The GPS technology that C&C Technologies provides has actually brought additional benefits than just positioning and infrastructure mapping. “We are automating Pemex’s rights of way within its old pipeline system,” Aguilar says. “By analyzing di†erent sections of the pipeline network, we are able to deliver electronic maps of the infrastructure with enabled satellite views. The satellite overview that we provide enables Pemex to find leaks in its hydrocarbon distribution network within minutes.”

Using its GPS mapping device, C&C Technologies has obtained data on approximately 6,000km of pipeline that had been all but abandoned. “We are acquiring information about the current shape of this distribution infrastructure, in order to provide a precise report on its condition,” Aguilar comments. “This will enable Pemex to drastically reduce uncertainty and facilitate a faster response to possible leaks and illegal taps that these pipelines might encounter along their full extension.”

Even though today Pemex uses cutting-edge surveying and built-in monitoring technologies to watch out for possible leaks in its AAA pipelines, there is infrastructure that the company is not yet assiduously monitoring. “These pipelines currently have no means of connecting with production centers and its control systems,” Aguilar explains. To oversee and manage the country’s old distribution network, Pemex has contracted C&C Technologies to chart a detailed infrastructure map, which delineates the location of the facilities and elaborates on their current state. “We were hired to install monitoring solutions at those old pipelines and fields to preserve them for further use,” he adds.

The use of GPS technology to create a fully detailed diagram of Pemex’s distribution system and its current capabilities is only the start of the possible applications for the technology. If the NOC were to invest in an in-depth diagnostic report of all its equipment and infrastructure, operational management and upkeep of the company’s facilities would result in a decrease in downtime rates and a more proactive approach to maintenance tasks and production optimization.

The contract has been expanding gradually. “It started with a normal tendering process, where Pemex asked us for the provision of the technology,” Aguilar describes. “From the start, the contract was divided into regions. We were first awarded one of those sections and once we delivered results, Pemex decided to continue investing in our service.”

The company believes that this contract can expand into Pemex’s development plans, with deepwater as a big target. “GPS solutions will continue to be our main business driver during 2013. We are executing the same services all around the world,” Aguilar explains. “So even when the Mexican subsidiary has not applied this technology in deepwater, we can rely on the company’s international experience and implement it in Mexico. This way, we have managed to build a successful business that could help Pemex in mapping deepwater infrastructure.”