Constantine Galanis
Director General and CEO
Química Apollo
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View from the Top

Experts in Improving Crude Quality and Pipeline Flow

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 16:23

Q: How does the current transformation of the Mexican downstream sector influence your market strategy?

A: The Energy Reform states that activities such as hydrocarbon transportation, storage, distribution, and refining, as well as those in the petrochemical segment, are not considered to be within the state’s strategic activities. This opens a door for the private sector, but it forces companies such as Química Apollo to have all the valid permits to operate directly in the aforementioned segments or to offer our services to the new players coming into the supply chain. Both cases will lead to a wealth of collaborations, making it easier to increase productivity, efficiency, and competiveness in the sector. The restructuring of PEMEX’s three downstream subsidiaries into a single Industrial Transformation division makes it necessary to standardize contracting and evaluation mechanisms in order to establish guidelines for a variety of technical, administrative, and financial requirements. Our company’s experience with the functional parts of the organization as we still know it today have enabled us to anticipate challenges and offer complete solutions with a systemic focus.

Q: How can your products and services increase production capacity while reducing downtime and maintenance costs for PEMEX’s downstream subsidiaries?

A: In recent years, Química Apollo has consolidated its presence in the National Refining System, providing integrated chemical treatments to prevent and minimize corrosion related damage and internal fouling in several refineries. I view reducing corrosion and fouling, increasing the uptime and working life of catalyzers, and optimizing maintenance and refurbishment times as our main objectives. Each of these aspects has an effect on the efficiency and productivity of the processes they deal with. Additionally, they contribute to progress achieved in industrial safety through environmental protection, workers’ health, and corrective maintenance operations in plants and facilities. Finally, state-of-the-art technology for corrective, preventive, and predictive analysis has been incorporated as part of our solution offerings in addition to our data management, which is supported by automation processes and telemetry.

Q: How have your products and services proved essential to the dehydration and desalination of heavy and light crude oil?

A: The integral desalination and dehydration programs for light crude oil and Maya crude in onshore and offshore facilities began in May 2005 and July 2007 respectively. The scope and provision of these services has constantly increased according to the exploitation curve in the producing area. This has resulted in a progressively complex initial quality of crude oil due to its increasing water and salt content, adding up to permanent changes in the quality of the crude to be treated and its mixes.

The facilities were not adequate for the type of operation necessary, thus we had to refurbish and upgrade the existing infrastructure. The scope and offering of these services had to be improved through the permanent analysis of the dehydration systems and their imminent modifications, as well as constant communication with clients. In consequence, the reformulation of the used chemical products and the prevision of multiple injection sites became contractual requirements, necessary to continue covering the fundamental needs in the Marine region’s oil production. The constant adjustment process of Química Apollo’s chemical treatment programs simplify decisionmaking processes and provide the required operational flexibility. This is how the company helps to ensure the quality of light and Maya crude oil mixes for refining and Maya crude for exportation.

Q: How are you preparing to compete as the industry increasingly demands products and services for new drilling and extraction operations?

A: Initially, we have explored several routes and strategies to intuitively reach a place where we can confront and objectively analyze the company’s strengths and weaknesses. To mention a few cases, Química Apollo has managed to secure partnerships with natural competitors to strengthen its competencies and skills in the national market. The company has been able to integrate itself vertically by subcontracting services, anticipating the emergence of new entities or operators in fundamental activities. Flexibility in Química Apollo’s solutions is also part of its innovative philosophy and we want to embed a divergent way of thinking in our business vision, whether it is in a direct competition scheme or a synergy and collaboration model.

Q: How have your friction-reducing products contributed to improving hydrocarbon transportation in PEMEX’s pipeline network?

A: Química Apollo overcomes operational limitations in the National Refining System’s pipeline infrastructure by using fiction-reducing agents. This can be done in three different working scenarios: permanent, intermittent, and occasional. It is worth noting that the construction of new pipelines, the implementation of a greater number of repumping systems, or the use of bulk trucks do not present viable options to the country’s current demand for refined products. The drag-reducing agents we provide within the framework of our current contract are eco-friendly chemical products that take advantage of the turbulence inherent to fluids travelling through the pipeline, giving the fluids more stability, reducing drag-related losses, and thus retaining the system’s dynamic energy. This is a transparent application, as the positive effects can be perceived within a few hours after the pipeline has been injected. These can present themselves in the form of a pressure reduction in the pumping system or as an increase in the flow volume. Therefore, these agents represent a viable, immediate, and safe solution to guarantee a timely hydrocarbon supply in different distribution points located across the country. Occasional operations and emergencies provide good examples of our products’ efficiency and speed, which exceed those of other alternatives. In these cases, freeing the damaged pipe involves great logistical and operational efforts, and the results provided by our applications significantly surpass our clients’ expectations.

Q: How will you maintain your position as a leading player in the Mexican oil and gas industry?

A: Química Apollo’s ultimate goal is to help clients improve their productive processes in terms of efficiency, productivity, and sustainability. For Química Apollo, operating and maintaining artificial production systems, desalinating and dehydrating heavy and light crude oil, improving the transportation conditions of pipelines for refined products, and building water treatment plants – among other applications – have become the daily tasks of a solid, collaborative team. The company provides technical services every day of the year, guaranteeing our clients’ operational security in their different processes, with flexibility and response time being the distinguishing features of a Mexican firm highly committed to the country’s development.