Eckhard Hinrichsen
Mexico Country Manager
DNV
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View from the Top

DNV Goes Back to Its Roots, Shifts Outlook

By Peter Appleby | Tue, 03/09/2021 - 12:55

Q: Why did the company change its name from DNV GL to DNV?

A: We are simply reverting back to the name we had prior to 2013. The DNV GL name has worked well over the last seven years but we want to simplify matters for our clients and other stakeholders and strengthen our brand.   At the same time, we are shifting our outlook. We have a new strategy for 2021-2025 that we have worked on over this past year and will let us move strongly into the energy transition, following our clients along this path. Our oil and gas and energy sectors will be merged under one business line – Energy Systems – reflecting the decarbonization trend taking place in the world.

The focus for Energy Systems will be to continue to service the oil and gas industry and the clients we have, as well as working in unison with the energy side of the company in overlapping areas, offshore wind being one example. The wind turbine expertise from energy and offshore expertise from oil and gas perfectly align here.

There is a great deal of research going on within the company in relation to the energy transition. Hydrogen is one area where we are concentrating our efforts. We have a large research center in Spadeadam in the UK where we will investigate safety and other aspects of the distribution and domestic use of hydrogen. The project is funded in by the UK government and effectively we are building a small city, including streets with houses, where we are researching the use of hydrogen in homes as an alternative to natural gas. Aside from the safety aspect, we are also looking at the impact of hydrogen on the pipe network, gauging embrittlement, and other potential problems.

We have set our goals for sustainability within the country and worldwide and that means that we want to be net carbon positive and power our offices with 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

Q: What is the significance in carrying out a Frame Contract for different type of risk analysis for PEMEX PEP?

A: We have been in Mexico for 25 years and have always offered risk analysis services. For the past 15 years, we have also worked with PEMEX PEP, under different umbrella contracts. However, these contracts covered specific regions and areas. This new contract covers all of PEP’s installations, which include the entire country, onshore and offshore assets. This is a huge scope of PEP installations and will require strong logistics planning. There is a great deal of work to be done here, as risk analyses need to be updated every five years as is required by SEMARNAT. Some installations are coming close to that five-year period so must be reviewed quickly. There are also some ASEA requirements involved, including well design assessments that are needed for their drilling permits. There is a wide variety of work to be done in parallel and that will be quite demanding.

When we enter a new geographical region, we automatically look for opportunities within them and try to maximize these contracts whenever possible.

Q: How will DNV carry out classification, verification and independent analysis of BHP’s Trion FPU.

A: The Trion farmout is pioneering in what is the first partnership of this kind between PEMEX and a private company, as well as the first deepwater development in Mexico. It made important news when it was signed and now it is coming to fruition.

Our involvement comprises classification, verification of the topside systems and independent analysis of the whole unit.  This will include revision of the hull, as well as navigation and safety systems. This will be done with colleagues from the maritime business area of the company. Meanwhile, the oil and gas specialists will verify and certify the topside installations and offer independent analysis of the FPU.

The hull will be constructed in Asia and a pre-FEED competition is underway at present. This will decide the contractor and construction location. The type of FPU units that will be used are quite new in Mexico so we are excited to learn from the entire process.

The main regulator is ASEA and DNV Mexico is approved as a Third Party for these types of project. But then there are various NOMs that will apply, and we will ensure that BHP is compliant. Some of these NOMs are old or even obsolete and they have not been written with deepwater in mind, so this poses a challenge. Our expertise in Mexico will help BHP, which only arrived in the country following the Energy Reform, to be aligned with all regulatory requirements.

Q: What trends have you seen since the pandemic started?

A: Remote inspections techniques that we developed even before the pandemic started have now been fully accepted by our clients and provided continuity to projects that otherwise would have been severely affected. We expect that this will continue even after the pandemic is over. Risk analysis many times requires multidisciplinary sessions and we are doing those remotely now, using special cameras.  We have come a long way in how we go about these projects since the beginning of the pandemic.

We suspect that working in the office will be reduced in the future as well, likely employing a hybrid approach, with some days in the office and some days at home. This will offer Mexico City colleagues that have long commutes some rest, which would be welcomed. DNV has some pilot projects underway in Germany and China and we will decide how to best implement this type of working structure before we apply it worldwide.

Q: What are DNV’s targets for 2021?

A: Many plans were put on hold in 2020 but they are starting to be released by clients. For example, private operators in Mexico did not fulfill their drilling targets last year. While 28 wells were approved by CNH for 2020, only 14 were completed. This means there is a large backlog to catch up on and we hope to get some of that work.

We hope to see more projects of the private operators move from the exploration phase to the development phase and we will look to capture these projects when that happens.

We will also continue working with our clients in the midstream sector like IEnova. Aside from ECA LNG, there are other advanced prospects that we plan to be involved in. We would like to become more involved in LNG in Mexico. Last but not least we will concentrate on making the merger of our Energy and Oil & Gas Business Areas a success in Mexico for the benefit of our local clients.

 

DNV is a global quality assurance and risk management company. It provides classification, technical assurance, software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil and gas, power and renewables industries.

Peter Appleby Peter Appleby Journalist and Industry Analyst