Pablo Nieto
Vice President
Roca Ventures
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Dos Bocas Neighbor Reaping Success

By Pedro Alcalá | Tue, 03/31/2020 - 13:28

Q: How did your port operation, Roca Port, perform in 2019?

A: Last year, Roca Port underwent a significant consolidation. We began work on an eight-year contract with Halliburton for the construction of a mud, cement and barite plant. We also have a storage contract with them and together we can provide full services to clients, the first of which is Shell. We also established a number of other important agreements. OTM, a partnership between Mexmar and Borr Drilling that is drilling wells in shallow waters, began operating out of our port last year, even before Halliburton and Shell. Another important client is Grupo R, which has also been operating out of our port and our yard since last year. These are three great examples of alliances that represent the successful consolidation of the Roca Port project. We also provide all relevant logistical services, which can include the supply of cranes, lift trucks and transportation operations within the port and the yard, including the loading and unloading of vessels. Our offering can be quite flexible economically and also in terms of our technical capabilities. We represent an integrated service option and our main advantage comes from being a one-stop-shop for operators because we can offer not just port and yard space but also office space, storage space, equipment rentals and crewing services.  

Q: What concerns did Halliburton have at the beginning of that contracting process?

A: This process really began with Shell visiting the general area where Roca Port is located in the vicinity of Dos Bocas. This port became very attractive for all the new players in the market, partially because of the access it provides to strategic Campeche Basin wells. Thanks to its draft and other characteristics, it is the only port, or at least one of the few, that can accommodate the services that these operators need. Shell approached us and asked Haliburton to sign this contract with us. Shell wanted to deal with only one integrating party, which turned out to be Halliburton, with whom we collaborated on the storage, logistics and port services of the project. They were mainly concerned about whether or not we could finish building the plant in less than one year in terms of capabilities and resources. We are on track to finish this project in record time.

Q: Has does the Dos Bocas refinery support the perception of the Dos Bocas port as an essential infrastructure hub?

A: The refinery has definitely put Dos Bocas deeper into the eye of the storm. It is now much more present on operators’ radar, and that has had a positive impact on our activities as well. We are looking forward to providing services to the refinery construction process as well.  As a matter of fact, the completion of the refinery will eventually change the access to Roca Port because the fully operational refinery will block the current access. There are some preliminary plans to welcome higher weight and higher volume structures for the refinery at our port. In this regard, our deeper port draft puts us at an advantage to participate in these kinds of projects when compared to the port of Frontera or other similar options. This is all enhanced and improved by the dredging of the port’s primary and secondary channels for the purposes of the refinery.

Q: To what degree has the port become a space for sharing expertise and technology between Mexican entities and international firms?

A: This process of exchanging data has been continually taking place in recent months. This is also further enhanced by our proximity to the Dos Bocas API, which is working closely with international firms. The API is saturated with providing services to all sorts of clients from different industries. This allows us to step in and do business with them, because we provide all the services necessary for the oil and gas industry. We are not yet offering in-depth fleet management services like customs and expediting permits, but we expect to provide these services in the near future through partnerships. In regard to the refinery project, we met with SENER and Tabasco Gov. Adán Augusto López Hernández in October of last year and they talked to us about their plans to address the significant backlog of available Mexican personnel and local content in the area. They gave us a chance to promote these exchanges to significantly increase the number of Mexican employees hired locally.

Q: What is your perspective on the structure of investment in Tabasco’s port infrastructure?

A: The Dos Bocas refinery has definitely played a role in creating new infrastructure needs for the state in general. This applies not only to ports but to highway and rail infrastructure as well. CFE also will have to develop electrical infrastructure. The construction of the refinery has led to the launch of a large number of projects currently in the pre-operational phase. The nearby city of Paraiso is small and in need of infrastructure investment to take on future projects. An expansion of rail lines into the port will become necessary, along with a refurbishing of the highways connecting Paraiso to Villahermosa. In general, highway maintenance has been kept up and response times have been satisfactory. The need for continuous infrastructure development might lead a port like ours to develop liquid capabilities, but that depends quite a bit on the permitting process and the authorities involved, not to mention an analysis of market demand and forces.

Q: What would you consider to be your main growth and development goals for 2020?

A: We hope to fill and consolidate all available space at our facilities by the end of the year. Additionally, we are developing three hectares into port space, plus four other additional hectares from a separate concession that neighbors our current location. All of these hectares have waterfront access. The completed development will total 21 hectares.

Roca Ventures is an investment fund that continues to actively look for opportunities in all industries, not just in the oil and gas sector but in energy in general. Roca Port will continue to be our main point of focus, but we are always looking for new business. Our concession for Roca Port limits us to the energy sector. This was in the rules of the SCT tendering process through which we were awarded that concession. 


Roca Ventures is an independent industrial and infrastructure-focused private investment firm that conducts buyout, growth and venture capital investments in the midstream, marine logistics, industrial and construction sectors in Mexico.  

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Journalist and Industry Analyst