Frank Bernard
VP Latin America North

Drilling Market Dynamics

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 17:13

Having worked in Mexico since 2003, Calmena, a Canadian drilling services company, has had a decade to adjust to the differences between the Canadian and the Mexican market. As Frank Bernard, Vice President Latin America North for Calmena, explains: “The business dynamics of North America and Latin America are completely different in many respects. First, the contracting models in the two regions are very diverse, and secondly, the community relationship challenges that you face as a drilling company are completely different between North America and Mexico. Dealing with personnel issues in Mexico has also been challenging for us. But after ten years we have evolved and adjusted and we now have workforces that are tuned to meet the demands of local operating conditions. Our recruitment, retention, and training programs have played a big role in shaping our fit-for-purpose, efficiency- based services across the board. We are all proud to work as part of one big team with a focus on keeping the customer ahead of the drilling curve whenever possible.“

With two drilling rigs currently working in the Poza Rica area, and one in the Villahermosa region, Bernard explains that for Calmena, some of the biggest opportunities in Mexico will come from directional and horizontal drilling at Pemex’s onshore fields, and the company has already been drilling horizontal and directional wells at the Ébano field in the Tampico-Misantla basin. Bernard believes that Calmena’s opportunities to grow in Mexico will be greatly helped by the latest round of integrated service contracts (ISCs), which will be awarded in the Chicontepec basin later in 2013. “We see tremendous opportunities for two reasons: the number of wells that are due to be drilled at Chicontepec mean that efficient, effective drilling will be required. Also, these wells are within our optimal depth range means that we have the experience and track record to demonstrate performance for these types of wells, as Calmena is predominantly a medium-depth drilling company. Our efficiency bias, coupled with our international footprint means that we can take best practices learned in the volume based plays of North America, and apply the efficiencies to onshore field development programs in Mexico. We expect that many of the international oilfield service companies currently operating field labs in the region will be bidding in this year’s third round of ISCs, which will bring a lot of possibilities for Calmena. We also see an opportunity to introduce our directional and horizontal drilling services to smaller companies like MPG, Pico and Grupo Diavaz.”

The opportunities for the further development of the directional and horizontal drilling market is being driven by a new openness to alternative drilling technologies on the part of Pemex, according to Bernard. “In recent years, I have seen the Mexican market open to new drilling technologies, such as advancements in rotary steerable, logging while drilling, electromagnetic MWD, faster transmission rates, and underbalanced drilling. Calmena is very competitive with both our technology and our people. In any market, doing a good job with good people is half the battle.”