Cesar Granados
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Company Taps Experience and Emerges as Niche Leader

By Cas Biekmann | Wed, 11/03/2021 - 12:07

Q: How does Opex stand out from its competitors in the oil and gas sector?

A: Our greatest differentiator is that we offer accountability and a totality of services. Opex serves as a general contractor, hiring different companies to complete different drilling processes or services related to drilling. To conduct a shallow water project, PEMEX used a collective of more than 200 companies handling various aspects of the operation, which made accountability very difficult. From this experience, the industry evolved and introduced bundled services, thereby allowing for the optimization of time, resources, personnel and costs. With various specialized and experienced domestic actors from logistics, marine and even aerial transport, Opex identified that it could deliver what the market needed. From this idea emerged a joint venture where Opex and Akal synergized to form one of the world’s best international drilling platform companies. 

Q: In which areas is the company looking to expand its services portfolio?

A: The two companies that came together to form Opex are very experienced in their respective fields. Therefore, we believe it is pragmatic to first let the company mature by working hand in hand with PEMEX, to continue learning and innovating our technologies so that we can continue refining and delivering the best work that we can. We have a challenging 2021-2022 campaign ahead of us so we will definitely be focusing our energy on its successful realization before we start to consider expanding into other services or unfamiliar projects. 

Q: How does your technology help to ensure a successful move from exploration to development and production?

A: Technology plays a big part in the overall success of a project but people operate this technology. I believe that central to the development and realization of a successful project are the people and teams on that project. They are the constant in the equation. We deliberately look to hire personnel with greater experience in oil and gas who have already surpassed the learning curve so that from day one, they can provide value and innovate. We have schools and training programs but since our focus is directed toward ongoing projects, we need personnel who can hit the ground running. 

Moreover, since most of our clients are developed world companies, we also make a great effort to meet compliance standards and conduct due diligence in every aspect of production. This investment, in turn, increases the probability of a successful project and the retention of our clients and competitive personnel. Still, we make sure to work with the best technology available in the market through our top partners in the oilfield services sector. 

Q: What is the role of digitalization in the company’s drilling efforts?

A: We are precisely in the middle of an ongoing digitalization analysis. Using data from recently drilled wells, we are evaluating technologies and how to adapt them in areas related to performance improvement, data management and processes optimization. In fact, we have sped up studies in partnership with various companies looking to expedite this process. We have many plans related to digitalization but this is and should be preceded by a comprehensive study. 

Q: What are the main challenges Opex faces when operating in shallow water projects?

A: What makes a project challenging is not the body of water you are operating in but the drilling aspect, which requires specific technologies according to the kind of formation and the drilling depth. Nevertheless, shallow water projects are relatively as complicated as deepwater projects that force engineers to consider high temperatures and pressure. Moreover, Mexico has one of the most difficult terrains in which to conduct drilling projects, which requires a lot of planning, geological information, specialized engineering and other variables to meet deadlines. In addition to this, although all projects are different, we consider the data generated from nearby projects that could help inform and avoid potential pitfalls encountered by similar projects. 

Q: How would you evaluate your position in the volatile economic environment of offshore drilling?

A: The market is very dynamic and most recently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More importantly, it will continue to change as new production avenues open up as PEMEX attempts to maintain and ramp up production. Companies like ours need to be able to read and understand what the oil and gas market is telling us, and that includes the high probability of an increase in global fossil fuel demand and the possibility that the world might not have the full capacity to address that increase.


Opex is an offshore drilling company focused on exploration and production for some of the sector’s most important clients, including PEMEX.

Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst