EPC Firm Looks to Create and Seize OpportunitiesWed, 01/22/2014 - 14:27
One of OPC Engineering and Construction’s (OPC) latest projects saw it take on the revamp of the polyethylene facilities at the Morelos Petrochemical Complex in Coatzacoalcos. This aimed to increase production capacity of polyethylene by 50%, from 3.5 tonnes to 7 tonnes per hour. Another important milestone for OPC was the construction of the delayed coking plant during PEMEX’s reconfiguration of the Minatitlan refinery, for which OPC was tasked with the coking, amines, and HDS components of the plants. As part of the same project, the company participated in the construction of a hydrogen plant, as well as the upgrade and expansion of an ethylene oxide plant. As a result, OPC has come to be regarded as a leading provider of EPC services to government entities as well as PEMEX. In addition to its activities in the oil and gas industry, it has participated on the currently suspended project to build a subsea tunnel between Allende and Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz and on the US$1.9 billion expansion of the port of Veracruz.
Although OPC is primarily focused on the petrochemical and refining sectors, the firm has also participated in projects for PEMEX E&P. According to its Director General, Jorge Arboleya Pastrana, these have not been as significant as OPC’s main business lines so far. For this reason, he aims to find a way to increase its participation in PEMEX E&P projects, considering that this subsidiary receives the largest chunk of PEMEX’s investment budget. In regard to the refining sector, OPC is focusing on facility maintenance since it believes that there will be an increasing need for repairs.
Throughout all these activities, Arboleya Pastrana says the firm has sought to become a model company in its activities and is counting on that reputation to help it secure the opportunities brought about by the Energy Reform. He explains that much of OPC’s success has come off the back of the right strategic partnerships, since these will help OPC finance its projects and give it the depth to overcome various challenges. OPC has worked with public, private, Mexican, and international firms alike but Arboleya Pastrana highlights its partnership with Grupo Diavaz as being of particular importance. OPC worked with the Mexican powerhouse at the maritime terminal in the port of Dos Bocas, and sees a lot of potential in this collaboration. In parallel, the firm expects to work with new foreign companies that have the necessary technology but lack the local expertise and industry experience to make it big in Mexico.
“In offering our EPC services to such firms, we consider quality, operational safety, and environmental impact as our main priorities,” says Arboleya Pastrana. “By working with high safety standards and preserving the environment, OPC has helped to set norms in its region. We are one of the companies that provide the most employment opportunities in the Veracruz area and consequently, other companies are gradually getting used to working with our standards.” Part of developing such stringent standards for its EPC services, both for upstream and downstream projects, has been the need to comply with the demanding standards that PEMEX imposes on any firm it works with. “As new players come in, they will be looking for firms that have the necessary certifications, a proven track record, and reliable results throughout the projects these have worked in. We are ready to participate with them,” Arboleya Pastrana affirms. OPC is also lobbying for the hiring of local personnel. OPC has continuously pushed the fact that creating jobs for skilled locals helps a company save money and boosts regional economies. Today, the firm is pushing for the creation of laws to help local talent to be fostered and trained through entities like the Mexican Chamber of the Construction Industry (CMIC), as well as in the Business Coordination Council (CCE) based in Veracruz. Another anchor of OPC’s plan is to set up transfer of technology programs that could see companies fully participate in the oil and gas industry, instead of remaining stuck as subcontractors. Arboleya Pastrana also believes that such well-defined legislation would trigger significant opportunities for SMEs as it would allow them to remain competitive in the Mexican market. OPC designs its own training activities to develop its operational strength. “Our courses focus on specific and detailed engineering capabilities rather than basic engineering. We work with other companies to mutually learn, which is yet more proof that developing partnerships will be key to our success in growing beyond the restrictions of subcontractors,” says Arboleya Pastrana.