Engineering Challenges for the Domestic IndustryWed, 01/25/2012 - 13:08
As an engineering company focused on the oil and gas industry, one of Vigen’s biggest competitive advantages is the fact that 70%-80% of its current employees used to work at the Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP), and as a result have a lot of experience tackling Pemex’s engineering challenges. Some of the company’s employees worked on Pemex’s first offshore platforms in the 1980s, and therefore have a deep working knowledge of the evolution of Mexico’s offshore engineering needs.
Since its re-establishment in 1996 (the company was first founded in 1990), Vigen has worked on platform projects at both Cantarell and Ku-Maloob- Zaap, participating in work on compression platforms, drilling rigs, living quarters and pipeline systems. The company’s contribution to these projects has been the development of engineering, supervision of construction, commissioning and services for the testing and startup of projects.
Héctor Alejandro Genis Juárez, General Director of Vigen, believes that the biggest focus of oil and gas engineering companies in Mexico will be addressing problems that are unique to Mexico. “There are two major problems with the oilfields in Mexico. First of all, our oilfields have a high sulfur content, which is a problem that does not exist in other countries. It is a very complex situation because if we separate the sulfur, we then have the problem of where to dispose of it, since it has a very high toxic content. It damages our pipelines more easily, and we have to apply an innovative system, developed for our country, to our installations. Secondly, we are dealing with new oilfields in deepwater, and we don’t have sufficient technology to drill these fields at the moment. This is a problem that has been delayed for many years, but now is the time to face it, so that we can successfully develop deepwater projects five years from now.”
Genis Juárez believes the cheapest way for Pemex to develop its deepwater technology would be for domestic engineering companies like Vigen to subcontract the international companies, and that this option would furthermore provide the best way for technology transfer between international companies and Mexican ones. “The main restrictions on us are Articles 28 and 29 of the Constitution, which prohibit associating with foreign companies. So if we would like to proceed with future partnerships, we have to appropriately interpret these articles. The legislation does not strictly prohibit partnerships, but in order to ensure a partnership nowadays, it has to be done on an international level,” says Genis Juárez.