Developing National Champions

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 11:23

Under current regulations, Pemex is able to award service contracts to any company in the world that best serves its interests. This has led to a national discussion over whether Pemex should act like a business in the contract awarding process and choose the best partner, regardless of nationality, or whether it should prioritize awarding contracts to Mexican companies to foster the domestic economy. The answer, regardless of the option Pemex decides to take, is for Mexico to develop national champions that are the best choice for the NOC, even when facing international competition. This is the approach that Mexican service companies such as Grupo Diavaz, Comesa, Goimar, and Vallen have taken in providing highly competitive services in their di†erent market segments.


Grupo Diavaz started operations in 1973 as a diving company that provided maintenance services to the o†shore hydrocarbon exploration and production industry. Since then, the company has expanded into three di†erent divisions: maritime operations and other o†shore services, oil and gas exploration and production services, and natural gas production and distribution. Throughout the years, Grupo Diavaz has become one of the most important players in the Mexican oil and gas industry, to the point of even having success where some of the most important and well-regarded international service companies have not. “We have been able to correctly manage the di†erent community groups within Tamaulipas, Tampico, Reynosa, and Ébano,” Luis Vázquez Sentíes, President of Grupo Diavaz, describes. This placed the company ahead of international service provider Schlumberger in production-related services at the Pánuco and Ébano fields for several years.


Comesa has been a leading provider of exploration services in Mexico. By o†ering cutting-edge seismic technologies since its formation in 1968, Comesa has become one of Pemex’s partners of choice in its exploration operations. Working side by side with Pemex and the IMP, Comesa is currently conducting the important geological research project for shale gas in the country. “We will be very active helping Pemex to acquire the seismic information that it will use in the development of the shale resources in Mexico,” Adán Ernesto Oviedo Pérez, Director General of Comesa says. However, progress does not stop there for Comesa. The company is venturing into the US shale market, hoping to become an operator in the Eagle Ford area. This is a key step to develop additional expertise and knowledge on shale gas projects and build on them to exploit Mexico’s potential.


Goimar was founded in the early 2000s to provide services related to the leasing and operation of drilling rigs and vessels for the oil industry. Throughout its history, Goimar has dedicated itself to learning from international companies working in the sector, which has led the company to Denmark and China. By acquiring knowledge and experiences from Denmark-based Maersk and Chinese COSL, the company has built a portfolio of rigs and now operates these successfully in the Mexican market. The company’s prospects for the future involve the continuing operation of rigs in the market, while introducing a new modular rig into Pemex’s drilling plans. “We anticipated since 2009 that Pemex would like to increase the number of modular rigs in its fleet, since they are still drilling extensively in shallow waters under more di·cult conditions,” says Yann Kirsch, VP of Business Development & Strategic Planning for Goimar. “We came up with the conceptual engineering design of a brand new, selferecting 3,000 HP modular rig, which we are now building to extend our portfolio and help Pemex in its endeavors.”


The Kuri Con brothers established the company that came to be Vallen in 1985 with the idea of providing safety products that were still not in use in several markets. After its establishment, the company underwent several constitution changes through joint ventures and was later acquired by Vallen Safety Supply Company and ultimately by Sonepar. Throughout this process, Vallen was awarded service contracts by Pemex’s drilling unit. “Carlos Razo, director of the at the time new drilling unit, explained the safety problem behind the low e·ciency and productivity of his team and asked us for an integral solution,” José Luis Kuri Con describes. “This implied not only providing the necessary protection equipment for its personnel, but also making sure that the correct equipment reached the right person at the time it was required, under the proper controls.” This was how Vallen pioneered the concept of integrated safety solutions in Mexico and has become one of the market leaders in their provision.

The common denominator for all these companies is that they overcame the global competition to become partners for Pemex in di†erent key areas within the oil and gas value chain. Whether it was through acquiring knowledge or technology from international companies, developing them through joint ventures or acquisitions, or developing their own solutions in-house, these Mexican champions have successfully worked their way into Pemex’s list of trusted partners.