Bolívar Araujo
Director General
View from the Top

Enhanced Oil Recovery Technology in Samaria Luna

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 11:15

Q: Sertecpet will be working with Petrofac at its Magallanes and Santuario fields, won in the first integrated service contract bidding round. Which services will your company be providing?

A: We have two options with Petrofac, and our contract enables us to provide both to Petrofac. The first is early or modular production facilities, which provide the flexibility to match production capacity with the development of the field and adapt to it accordingly. Once a field starts declining, modules can be relocated to another field. This versatile technology reduces production costs substantially. The other technology under this contract is the hydraulic pumping system called Jet Claw, which is applied for production enhancement.

Q: Why is Petrofac interested in working with Sertecpet?

A: First of all, we already have national framework agreement with Pemex subsidiary Integrated Trade System Inc (ITS) since July 2011. ITS is a subsidiary of Pemex located in Houston in charge of global benchmarking of onshore and oshore technology for Pemex. As a result, we have a Pemex-approved price list, and Petrofac knows that they don’t have to fight about our prices with Pemex. If I charge Petrofac more than my price list states and they have a contract with Pemex, Pemex will sanction me. If I charge them less, Pemex will ask me why I charge that company less while charging a dierent amount to Pemex, so I would have to return the dierence in price to Pemex. The only thing I am allowed to include in my price list is a formula to readjust the price due to inflation or fluctuations in costs of materials from other companies. That is a big advantage for our clients.

Q: How dicult is it as a company from Ecuador to compete as with well-established US and European oilfield service companies?

A: I don’t tell Pemex about what I can sell it; I ask Pemex how we can contribute to increasing production and solving its problems. This is a dierent policy from the big companies. Financially speaking, we provide service to Pemex and barely make a profit, and the dierences are noted.

Sertecpet has been trying to enter the Mexican market since 2005, and has invested its resources accordingly. On March 31st 2009, we succeeded in signing a contract with Pemex for a free technological test. The criterion was that we first had to prove that our technology worked; Pemex could not run the risk of investing in an unproven new technology, which is understandable. We have done this with previous technologies in other countries, but each country has its own policies. They assigned us two wells: Samaria 840 and Oxiacaque 13. These are two very dierent locations.

The Oxiacaque 13 well was in steep decline, but had previously had a very high production rate. Several companies had intervened previously with technological tests, but they couldn’t figure out the problem. The conditions of the well, including its mechanical conditions, were very complicated. We reevaluated our work plan and eventually succeeded in tripling production.

Q: With a foot in the door in the Mexican market, what are the next steps for Sertecpet?

A: We have developed a very aggressive business plan for Mexico, because Pemex’s development plans for the southern regions, the marine region around Ciudad del Carmen and the northeastern region will create growing demand for our artificial lift systems and portfolio of onshore production solutions. Although we do not have direct experience in operating a field, we do have geologists, geophysicists, field engineers, production engineers and facility engineers, who provide us with the capability to manage a field. As a matter of fact, the next step for us is to look for a field to operate.

We would have to enter the bidding in a partnership with an operator, because initially, the contract is designed for an operating company. We already partnered up with Canacol, a Canadian operator, to prepare a bid for the Carrizo field. Eventually, Canacol retired from the bidding and I couldn’t participate in the tender by myself, because we are a service provider instead of an operator. Next time, we can participate as an operator, because we just signed an operating agreement with Schlumberger, Tecpetrol and Sertecpet in Ecuador. One of Pemex’s bidding requirements is to be an operator, so now it will be easier to gain access to a field in Mexico.