Guido Rivas
Vice President

Fluids Lifeblood of Drilling Services

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 11:04

A well is like the human body, and in this system, drilling fluids are often referred to as the lifeblood. In the same way that blood is needed to survive, drilling operations also require quality drilling fluids as an integral component of the system, and these drilling fluids must be correctly adapted to individual well conditions. One of the critical factors for success is circulation, and lost circulation is a major problem for some areas in Mexico, costing a considerable amount of money due to the loss of thousands of cubic meters of fluid. Therefore, QMax has implemented technical efforts in order to address these problems in the country, and the company has developed several customized solutions to manage this issue. “At the moment there is a particular offshore well that is losing circulation and the customer is currently on the verge of replacing a competitor with us due to our breadth of experience and past success,” boasts Guido Rivas, Vice President of QMax. “This is the result of our focused attention to problems, development of new formulations in our laboratories, country-wide distribution, and our ability to continue working until an effective solution is achieved.” The focus the company has on ensuring delivery of efficient services at the lowest possible price is a clear strength for QMax.

The company has a total capacity of approximately 23,000m3, spread over seven mud plants throughout the country, but unfortunately, only around 30-40% of that capacity is currently in use. In the past, QMax has run up to 80 rigs simultaneously and, although Rivas shares that this was challenging, he is confident of the company’s capability of capturing this percentage of the total market share. The landscape at the moment is incredibly difficult to negotiate across all sectors of the oil and gas industry, so Rivas believes there is a need to adjust accordingly in order to become leaner and cut costs where possible. QMax has made adjustments, not only in operations, but also in staff numbers and investments, while maintaining motivation among the workforce and technology development. “We have made some mistakes along the way, and as a result, we must continuously modify our strategy,” Rivas admits. “After the weak year in 2015, I think 2016 will follow this pattern. Consequently, we are preparing for a modest level of activity, a more aggressive level of competition, and as a result, we have placed a concerted focus on technology, processes, and development of human talent.” As an agile and flexible company, he shares that QMax is able to respond quickly to any market fluctuations and make the necessary adjustments, whereas other competitors do not have the capability to implement such a fast response.

Moreover, Rivas believes that, with the changes in the Mexican oil and gas industry, PEMEX will be forced to become more efficient in the face of increased competition. This applies to all aspects of the E&P operations, including reservoir engineering and exploitation, as well as drilling, whereby the NOC will be forced to drill faster, at a lower cost, and with the most advanced technology. “PEMEX, along with new players in the market, will be looking to partner with leading companies that can help them achieve these new objectives,” he states. “They will be looking for companies that can act fast in applying technology to common drilling problems to lower costs and improve efficiency.” Because of the company’s problem solving approach, the quality of its people, and the effectiveness of its infrastructure, Rivas believes QMax is an ideal partner for both PEMEX and new companies entering the market.

Although interested in new partnerships, Rivas concedes that 2016 will be a difficult year and the market might be down by around 20-40% compared to 2015. “We hope to prove our capabilities to a number of new and existing players and be able to deliver on our promises of top quality services, lower costs, and increased efficiency,” he explains.