Juan Carlos Hernández Nájera
Director General
Industrias Energéticas
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Clean Power Generation Destined for Expansion

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 12:29

Q: What have been the main achievements and objectives of Industrias Energéticas since your company started working with Pemex in the Bay of Campeche in 2011?

A: Energy policies implemented by the Federal Government, in combination with Pemex’s implementation of its safety, occupational health and environmental protection (SSPA) program, created an environment in which our company could pursue rapid growth. In order to take advantage of the opportunity to provide Pemex with microturbines that meet strict emissions requirements while o†ering continuous, reliable power in hazardous environments, we have made large investments in the training and certification of our people, adopted advanced industry standards, and are currently in the process of obtaining the ISO 9001:2008 quality management system certification to enhance customer satisfaction and optimize our overall performance.

The 46 Capstone microturbines with 30kW capacity that were initially installed for Pemex provide power to 27 o†shore platforms, operating on sour gas and wellhead gas that flows through these o†shore platforms, provide power for each platform’s SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), fire and gas detection, emergency shutdown, communication, lighting, and auxiliary systems. While we can provide microturbines of 30kW, 65kW, and 200kW, at the moment 80-90% of the microturbines installed on platforms in Cantarell, Ku-Maloob-Zaap and Poza RicaAltamira have a capacity of only 30kW. Our intention is to introduce more higher capacity microturbines, which can o†er our customers more versatility and power, and therefore be used in o†shore applications that are currently powered by diesel generators or conventional generators. Our goal is to enter that market and replace 100% of these generators.

We have already installed larger size microturbines in Cantarell, including two 65kW C65 microturbines on the Akal C production platform, and a 1.2MW configuration on the Ixtoc-Alpha platform. The latter platform is famous as it is the location of Mexico’s worst oil spill following a blowout that resulted in 3.3 million bbl of oil being spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in 1979. To avoid problems with Mexico’s federal environmental protection agency (Profepa) and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), Ixtoc-Alpha has been a priority in Pemex’s SSPA program. In consequence, Pemex selected a configuration of six C200 microturbines to power its drilling pumps there. We believe that the results of this project will have a profound impact on the decision making process for power generation infrastructure on other platforms, since microturbines do not only substantially reduce its maintenance costs (since our turbines only have one moving part, no gearbox or other mechanicals, and use no lubricants or hazardous materials), they also enhance flexibility as they can easily be relocated to another platform due to their lightweight and compact design. Besides the current o†shore applications, microturbines can also be used for cogeneration and trigeneration in other locations, but the application of our technology depends on the needs of Pemex.

Q: How do you approach the challenge of introducing new power generation technology to Pemex?

A: The main reason why Pemex and its contractors are hesitating to change to microturbines is the initial purchase cost. However, this cost is balanced by the reduced maintenance costs throughout the lifecycle of a microturbine, which requires maintenance every 8,000 hours, while a diesel generator generally needs to be serviced every 700 hours. Based on our proactive monitoring system we are able to provide preventative maintenance during checks at 8,000, 20,000 and 40,000 hours to ensure that our microturbines reach their expected lifetime of 40,000 hours, after which the engine and several components need to be replaced.

To address the challenge posed by the initial purchasing price, Industrias Energéticas is working hard to become an integrated service provider. The main innovation lies in the way we provide our equipment to the customer. Rather than purchasing microturbines, we are o†ering Pemex the opportunity to rent clean power generation capacity from us. This would enable Pemex to minimize its investment in power generation equipment and reduce its carbon emissions. At the same time, this would facilitate the replacement of conventional generators by clean microturbines, and provide Industrias Energéticas with access to a larger number of Pemex locations. For example, we are aiming to introduce microturbines for separation batteries in the onshore Poza Rica and Tabasco areas.

Q: What are the prospects of Pemex including a maximum CO2 emission per kWh in its tenders for power generation equipment?

A: Mexico’s General Law on Climate Change, which was published in the O·cial Gazette of the Federation on June 6, 2012, states that it is the obligation of any government entity to give priority to the procurement of equipment that minimizes pollution, o†ers added value, and applies advanced technology. We are still in the education phase, and Industrias Energéticas is actively participating in this process. Since the people in charge of drafting the public tenders for Mexico’s government entities are not fully aware of the capabilities and performance of our equipment, the appropriate technical specifications do not necessarily appear in these tenders. Industrias Energéticas seeks to be part of the change that is taking place at the national level to protect our environment, not only by o†ering low emission power generation solutions, but also by helping Pemex and other stakeholders to change their way of thinking and move towards this new paradigm.