Raúl González
Mexico Country Manager
Saipem Offshore
View from the Top

Complementing the Value Chain Key to Ultra-Deepwater Projects

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 08:23

Q: How has Saipem evolved in the Mexican market this year?

A: Mexico is among the markets where we are actively developing a stronger presence in the Americas region. We strategically decided to do this many years ago. To date, Saipem America in Houston has been catering to the whole offshore division for Saipem in the region; however, we have now opened a Saipem E&C Offshore company in Guyana, in collaboration with Exxon Mobil, and have the same plans for Mexico. Here, while our efforts are focused in deepwater subsea developments, in particular the Lakach project, we are also targeting other offshore SURF and T&I projects in Baja California and future projects with Dragados, for whom we are installing the CA-KU-A1 platform. 
We provide services related to ultra-deepwaters, pipelines and subsea production to complement the already existing capacity with our expertise. Even though we could compete with services that are locally available, we choose to focus on complementing rather than competing. The goal is to find synergies with local strategic partners in different sectors to further develop the offshore market. If PEMEX really wants to increase its gas production, it will have to continue moving into deepwater developments. It already has with the Lakach deepwater gas field. We are here to provide support as PEMEX looks to the future.  

Q: What are PEMEX's projections for deepwaters and how can Saipem be involved in them?

A: PEMEX is still involved in deepwater despite the changes at the company. The reality is that PEMEX needs gas, and it has already found significant reserves in deepwaters. It now becomes a financial exercise to make these deepwater developments economically feasible. It has become clear that gas exploration is a market that cannot be ignored, even though PEMEX is hesitant to invest in this area. My job is to tell PEMEX that we can help, that we know how to do this. Our goal is to be the main deepwater development contractor in the Gulf of Mexico. To do this, we need to help operators understand how to be efficient in terms of costs and safety in ultra-deepwaters. We just need to make them aware that deepwaters and gas are still strategic and profitable options. 

Q: What are your thoughts about developing a natural gas value chain in Mexico?

A: We have held conversations with PEMEX about precisely this, mainly concerning the Lakach project, in which we are already involved. We know it is in the interest of everyone, PEMEX included, to reactivate it. We have also explored synergies between Lakach and PEMEX’s Ixachi onshore gas development project, as well as other deep sea developments, like Kunah and Piklis. These are opportunities that PEMEX has close to Lakach, which can be tied together using the existing Lakach infrastructure. This means that the next development in ultra-deepwaters will be cheaper and as a result more gas will be produced.
Q: What are Saipem’s prospects for the coming year?

A: We have many assets that could potentially play a big role in projects we are actively targeting in the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea of Cortes and the Pacific Ocean. It will all depend on the market and when each project gets sanctioned. We have deployed the S7000 in Mexico for many projects in the past. It is currently at the CaKu-A platform installation. It is one of the largest heavylift crane vessels in the world, but we also have the Constellation, the biggest rigid reeled and flexible pipelay vessel in the world with heavy lift capabilities, stationed in the Gulf of Mexico. We are now focused on ramping up the offshore division and office in Mexico. The aim is to run offshore projects from Mexico and be able to cater to the needs of operators and their contractors. As mentioned, our goal is to become the leader in the country’s ultra-deepwater and subsea sector. In the meantime, we may still offer our services on T&I and shallow water pipeline projects. We will also focus on our strategic alliances with local partners and deepen our involvement with PEMEX.

Saipem Offshore is the leader in the offshore design, construction and installation of subsea developments worldwide. Its expertise includes fixed and mobile platforms, subsea production and control systems, subsea pipelines and field monitoring.