Luis Álvarez
Director of Compression Techniques
Atlas Copco
View from the Top

Compression Systems Lead to Substantial Energy Savings

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 10:15

Q: How is Atlas Copco’s positioning in the Mexican oil and gas industry evolving?

A: Atlas Copco has long been involved in worldwide oil and gas markets through its compressors. We are expecting a lot of investors to come into Mexico thanks to the Energy Reform and we are aiming to capitalize on opportunities in exploration and in hydrocarbon transportation. Atlas Copco is currently participating in all phases of the hydrocarbon exploration and production process in Mexico by working with contractors and other companies. We know there is a need for air compression services in the entire Mexican value chain, and Atlas Copco’s current focus is on PEMEX, contractors, subcontractors, and engineering companies. We have already supplied and installed more than 500 pieces of equipment for PEMEX in different locations. Reliability is a significant factor, and a key aspect of our work is providing appropriate technical support that guarantees that our equipment is functioning properly. Our main competitive advantage in the air compression business is that Atlas Copco manufactures its own products and is able to provide direct support to its clients.

Q: How do you deliver timely equipment deliveries and appropriate support given Mexico’s logistics challenges?

A: Atlas Copco’s oil and gas division has a number of distribution branches in Mexico. We have a branch in Coatzacoalcos with local personnel, including a workshop and a warehouse, as well as branches in Monterrey and San Luis to serve the Tampico area and the Salamanca refinery. We are waiting for the new investments that are coming as a result of the Energy Reform. Many analysts are predicting that Tampico could be the center of the reshaped Mexican oil and gas industry due to its proximity to current deepwater activities and shale gas opportunities. If this is the case, we will open a new branch there as it is critical for Atlas Copco to be very close to its customers so as to respond to our client’s requests in a timely fashion. Atlas Copco’s equipment is necessary in the offshore and onshore segments. Offshore, we are looking at the main deepwater wells off the coast of Tamaulipas, where we already supply platforms. Onshore, the shale gas opportunities in Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon are another area of interest for our company. These are two big poles of investment that Atlas Copco is ready to participate in since it has extensive working experience working in Texas on shale gas, and in deepwater projects led by BP, Shell, and Chevron.

Q: How have your technological processes helped you attain your leadership position?

A: Each product offers an energy-saving advantage to our customers and our R&D department is constantly working to create new products. Atlas Copco is a pioneer in Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology used in air compression. We were the first manufacturer in the world to launch this type of compressor in the market, which is currently in its fifth generation. Its main competitive advantages are energysaving, maintaining a stable working pressure, and reducing machine maintenance costs. VSD compressors use 50% less energy than generic compressors. Additionally, we have other energy-saving products that are also helping our customers’ operations, like Smart Link. Atlas Copco usually suggests to its customers that they carry out five to ten year operational, maintenance, and financial analyses of our products compared to our competition. These figures can then be compared to see the true value our products provide.

Q: Has your design process been influenced by some of the specific cases you have encountered in Mexico?

A: Definitely, and these mostly have to do with specific needs and demands. It can happen that clients ask us for a specific package, including special protection devices or a unique classification that meets their own safety or quality standards. Our company is able to adapt our equipment to local requirements thanks to a local engineering team that makes the necessary adjustments. Atlas Copco is actually planning to increase the number of technicians and engineers to provide increased technical support to our Mexican customers. If needed, we hire local companies to get the projects done, while ensuring they comply with our quality assurance system.

Q: What will be your focus for growth in the coming years?

A: We foresee that our presence in Mexico will increase. Atlas Copco is aiming to fulfill a worldwide internal goal by 2020: ensuring that our clients have gained a reduction of up to 20% in energy costs.