Experienced Port of Call for Research and DevelopmentWed, 01/21/2015 - 16:24
Q: What is the importance of the oil and gas industry within the different research activities of CIDESI?
A: The oil sector is the most recent sector we have entered. We see both tremendous potential and an enormous challenge in this venture. For example, in deepwater exploration, the technical challenges will be immense, which will require CIDESI to work with the industry to develop the required technologies. This will also boost our expertise and that of national suppliers. In the short-term, our priority is to conclude the construction of our unit in Ciudad del Carmen and to assemble a group of researchers and technologists to provide services to the oil and gas industry. In the second stage, we want to develop specialized laboratories, for which we will have to fully detect market needs. In the third stage, we will seek financial consolidation for our oil and gas unit and strengthen it for years to come.
Q: How is CIDESI’s R&D strategy for the oil industry changing in response to the opening of the market?
A: Following the Energy Reform, private companies will be able to engage in operations previously exclusive to PEMEX. These companies will naturally seek to have local vendors so as to reduce their production costs and boost their national content. This provides CIDESI with the opportunity to help companies of all sizes improve their technological development, become more competitive, and develop as local suppliers. To do so, we will also be seeking alliances with PEMEX and private companies. Since CIDESI is a decentralized organ of the federal government, PEMEX can provide us with technological development projects without undergoing a tender. As CIDESI does not have a steady customer base, new customers are always very important. Therefore, in the Southeast Region, we will be focused on identifying potential customers and making use of the grants we have received from CONACYT to link up with PEMEX and the private sector. When we look for customers, we look for companies that are eager to make long-term investments in science and technology. We strive to establish win-win relationships with our customers as we believe this is the best way to build loyalty and long-lasting partnerships. The knowledge generated throughout the development of the project belongs to the client. We sign confidentiality agreements with our customers and the intellectual property rights are defined in the contracts. Sometimes, we request our customers to let us use the knowledge in other sectors in which they do not compete. Additionally, the knowledge acquired during the development of a project stays in CIDESI through its staff. This enables us to develop extra knowledge for other customers and to carry over our experience to develop new projects.
Q: What are the advantages of collaborating with CIDESI for oil companies with internal R&D teams?
A: Large oil companies usually have their own research centers, while most SMEs use technologies without researching them or participating in their development. CIDESI’s model allows it to bring added value to both types of customers. It is very difficult for any single R&D center to be an expert in every aspect of the oil and gas business. There are many peripheral technologies required for a specific development, which is where we come in. We seek to become technological partners with companies that have R&D centers, and then become just such a center for companies that do not. We have become particularly strong at matters related to automation. At our Ciudad del Carmen center, our main line will be the design and manufacturing of tools and equipment for oil production. We will also add a computer modeling and simulation line, given the large demand for such services. This will help CIDESI improve its expertise in the design of new machinery and tools for the oil industry.
Q: CIDESI is also involved in education and training programs. How do you ensure that your students get relevant experience for the private sector?
A: Our postgraduate courses have a natural synergy with companies. In addition to the solid theoretical formation that our graduates gain, they all become involved in projects related to the industry. This allows them to solve real problems, which gives them a competitive advantage in the marketplace. For example, we are currently closing the design of a well cementing unit for Comansum. This project will serve a dual purpose as it will also be used for the training and certification of well cementers. This is the most emblematic project we currently have, and our students have participated in this project and will continue to assist as construction begins in 2016.