The Construction of Expertise OffshoreTue, 01/22/2013 - 12:48
Partnering with a local company is a frequently used strategy by foreign companies to enter the Mexican oil and gas industry, enabling them to shortcut the lengthy process of understanding the way that the local markets operates. In return, the local company gains access to international technologies and best practices. Mexican company AlmaCid has built this concept deeply into its business strategy, to the extent that without it, they would not be able to come close to achieving their goals for growth.
In the course of its 23-year history, AlmaCid has expanded its construction business to new areas such as o-road construction, civil work, infrastructure, equipment, and most recently oshore infrastructure development. “The oshore business is the newest division of the company; it has only been operating for two years,” explains Alejandro Gutiérrez Cortés, Director General of AlmaCid. He recognizes that the only way for AlmaCid to fully develop this new business activity is with the help of experienced international partners.
Gutiérrez Cortés describes the process by which AlmaCid approaches the challenge of entering a new sector and making the business as attractive as possible for finding international partners. “Whenever the company sets out to open a new division, the process before startup includes a research stage to strengthen our knowledge in the field. We look for assistance and advice from industry experts to get the necessary understanding that will allow our new division to hold its own in the market and grow,” Gutiérrez Cortés details. “With the oil and gas construction market only being served by a modest number of main players, we believe that as the company accumulates the necessary knowledge to serve as an anchor for its future partners, opportunities will come.”
For AlmaCid, the planning stage before launching the division is crucial. “Our objective is to become specialists in every sector we work in. We are focused on technological growth in order to excel at our role as partner to international companies, and provide the added value that they need to reassure themselves,” Gutiérrez Cortés states.
“After two years, we now have the knowledge of how Pemex operates internally, and the administrative, safety, and environmental standards required to successfully work with them.” With knowledge in both the construction sector and the way Pemex operates, AlmaCid is now looking to manage local operations for international partners. There are a number of opportunities in oshore infrastructure development, including dismantling existing platforms, transporting them to land, and adjusting them to international specifications.
The last component that aids AlmaCid in its role as partner to international companies is its approach to the promotion of innovation. Technology is a major component in the growth equation for the Mexican industry, and the country is currently at a transition stage where it needs to import international best practices and leading edge technologies from other countries. Mediators such as AlmaCid play the role of identifying the technology gaps, identifying the technologies that are best positioned to meet the particular challenges facing the industry, bringing these technologies to the country, helping Pemex to overcome its operational challenges, generating knowledge spillovers for domestic companies, and developing additional national content.
“We bring technological development through our joint ventures with partners from international backgrounds,” Gutiérrez Cortés says. By providing Pemex with useful technologies from foreign companies, while facilitating their contact with the NOC, the country matures in its technical knowledge. “AlmaCid shares its expertise of working with Pemex in exchange for the knowledge that international companies provide,” he explains.
AlmaCid’s role tries to capitalize on the international interest in the Mexican oil and gas industry, and helps Pemex to gain access to international technologies and best practices at the same time. Building such bridges between Pemex and foreign companies is destined to be a critical success factors for the sustainable development of the industry.