Jaime Zubillaga
General Manager
MAN Diesel & Turbo Mexico
View from the Top

Enhanced Oil Recovery Leader Sets Solid Foundations

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 15:10

Q: What niches of the oil and gas sector are most aligned with MAN Diesel & Turbo’s strengths?

A: MAN provides compressors, expanders, and turbines for different industries, including the oil and gas sector where they find many applications. The company manufactures all compressors and turbines used in Mexico to separate nitrogen from atmospheric air and to compress the nitrogen before transportation and injection into oil reservoirs as part of PEMEX’s enhanced oil recovery (EOR) initiatives. However, our target is to continuously improve the performance and reliability of all our products. We have always approached this endeavor by investing significantly in trendsetting R&D activities, representing about 5% of the sales revenue of the whole MAN Group. As a result, we are able to offer cutting-edge technology and world-class components. Our production optimization and quality management systems form the core of our strategy to satisfy our customers’ demands.

Q: How does your electric motor-driven compressor technology withmagnetic bearings differ from alternatives?

A: There are important advantages and benefits offered by our oil-free compression systems (HOFIM) when using electric motor-driven compressors equipped with magnetic bearings. These include lower maintenance costs, zero emissions, the lowest noise levels, higher availability and reliability, the possibility of remote and unmanned operations, low weight, and thermal efficiency of about 44% versus 35% when using gas turbine applications from other brands,

Q: What complementarities exist between MAN’s innovation in EOR solutions and the production challenges faced in Mexico’s mature fields?

A: MAN is ready to combine existing and state-of-the art- technologies to cater to the challenges of Mexican fields. For example, methods of introducing nitrogen under  high pressure into oil fields can be used for EOR if there is insufficient gas available for reinjection. However, an air separation unit plant (ASU) is indispensable for obtaining nitrogen for such projects. To cater to this, MAN has developed its proven axial/radial main air compressor AR-MAX1 for ASU application, with a greatly improved robustness against all kinds of mechanical blade loads. The AR-MAX1 will also set a new record for the largest compressor built to date at the largest air separation unit in Secunda, South Africa. In the second example, MAN supplied the compressor units for the world’s first subsea gas compression station to be installed in Norway’s offshore Åsgard field. This will boost falling gas pressures from the Midgard and Mikkel satellite reservoirs, enabling the recovery of an additional 280 million boe. The compressor unit consists of a HOFIM type compressor and a customized electric engine, which includes magnetic bearings.

Q: What is MAN’s competitive edge in providing production optimization solutions for offshore fields?

A: Unlike its competition, MAN is a single provider of integrated solutions with outstanding efficiency levels. Our comprehensive engineering knowledge and our modern technology ensure that MAN products and services are always ideally suited to a customer’s needs. To help our customers maximize their oil production capacity, we provide offshore gas recompression trains, flare gas recovery and tank vapor recovery systems using dry screw compressors, total train capabilities, and local oilfield service personnel available in Mexico. In addition, we offer main propulsion engines for all types of vessels, complete propulsion equipment packages, including powerful and sturdy generators for diesel electric propulsion, and electric power generation for rigs.

Q: How will the Energy Reform and the new opportunities it creates influence the role of the oil and gas industry in MAN’s Mexican portfolio?

A: The presence of the Energy Reform will increase the number of projects but only those companies that can keep up with the times will fully benefit from this. In that sense, MAN Diesel & Turbo Mexico is making an effort to adapt to the changing requirements in Mexico with support from our headquarters in Germany. We are already strengthening our presence in the region by investing in new offices and additional Mexican personnel to serve Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, and the Caribbean. We are essentially laying the groundwork to capture energy opportunities that will arise in the medium term. For example, we can forecast that, a few years down the line, increased project activity will lead to higher demand for internal combustion engines and turbomachinery. Over that time, we will expand our local presence in Mexico through leading technology and efficient product lines. As the market continues to develop, MAN will have the manpower, the local knowhow, and the right equipment to thrive.