Q: Where do you see the best opportunities for the introduction of Dow’s upstream solutions in Mexico?
A: Dow Oil & Gas has solutions for the whole industry value chain – products for exploration, production, refining, and processing: from the well to the gas station. Our focus in Mexico continues to be refining, processing and production. While we are committed to maintaining Dow’s well established position in the downstream market, we are striving to expand our presence in the upstream segment of the industry.
The key to our growth in 2013 will be production, where we have been focusing for the last two years. With a new president in power and a new CEO of Pemex, we see a renewed energy for the development of the sector. Although we know there will be big opportunities in the long-term in new areas like shale gas and deepwater, we are focusing on the challenges that we can help to address today, and increasing productivity is certainly at the top of that list for Pemex. Dow recently introduced a new product line dedicated to optimizing production: a new generation demulsifier. Traditionally demulsifiers have been very complex chemicals that help to separate oil from water. Our new product line simplifies the chemical process required to select the ideal demulsifier to be used in crude oil treatment. After introducing the product in southern Latin America, we are now looking at opportunities in the north of the region, especially in Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela. Given the profile of many of Pemex’s wells, we believe the solution to be extremely interesting for the NOC.
Q: How does this new generation demulsifier work?
A: Water needs to be extracted from crude oil before it can be transported and exported in accordance to local requirements; which usually 1% or less water in the total final volume. Demulsifiers are chemicals used to effectively separate the water contained in the crude oil. It acts on the water and oil interface breaking down the stability of the water in oil emulsion, and also providing a fast water separation. In some places, produced oil may contain as much as 90% water; in other places, the oil may have very low water content. It all depends on the age and location of the well, but at Pemex demulsifiers are widely used.
Q: What is your strategy to introduce the product in Mexico?
A: As opposed to the downstream area, where Dow Oil & Gas sells its products directly to Pemex, our upstream business sells to both international and domestic service providers. We offer global solutions, but we are sensitive to the needs of the local market. One of the ways we achieve this is by working closely with the end user, in this case Pemex, to better understand the chemical products they require, and using this to tailor the portfolio we offer to the service companies. In Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia, we have developed new products specifically for local challenges.
Q: Over the coming decade Pemex’s production profile will experience substantial change. How are you preparing for this?
A: Deepwater and shale gas will drive the most important changes in the Mexican oil and gas market, and Pemex’s production profile. We have many products in our portfolio to help companies improve production and productivity from unconventional resources. In deepwater, we have been providing Petrobras with a flow assurance solution that stabilizes temperatures and as a result guarantees that oil produced at deepwater assets can flow from the seabed to the platform. We know that Pemex has been in discussions with Petrobras in recent months and we hope that we will also be able to introduce our flow assurance technology in Mexico as soon as deepwater investment ramps up.
Q: What are the biggest challenges that DOW Oil & Gas has to overcome in Mexico over the next few years?
A: The biggest challenge will be to meet Pemex’s need to provide better production and productivity solutions. With a new CEO, and a new direction for the company, we hope our participation in the sector will only increase. We are very keen on the idea of one day conducting joint projects with Pemex, but this is something that will have to wait. In the meantime, we are working with Pemex and the private sector, conducting seminaries to introduce new solutions that we are working on in the US and locally, in order to expose Mexican engineers to our new products and technologies.