Stein Rasmussen
President
SBM Offshore USA
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View from the Top

FPSO Manufacturer Will Seize Opportunities In the Gulf Of Mexico

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 23:12

Q: What is the potential role of FPSOs in the development of the Mexican oil and gas industry?
A: We have been looking at the US Gulf of Mexico for decades and we see that the opening up of the Mexican market is going to offer many opportunities for FPSOs. The technology that is needed to unlock the development of Mexico is ready. We are already close to delivering the deepest disconnectable FPSO in the world in the Gulf of Mexico. We are currently in the final stages of building a disconnectable FPSO that will operate in the Gulf of Mexico in water depths of 9,600ft (2,926m), making it the deepest disconnectable FPSO in the world. This project is very complex in terms of technology and is precisely where SBM Offshore’s strengths come into play. This is just part of a technology portfolio that will be readily available to be deployed in the Mexican side of the Gulf. We are continuously pushing the boundaries as we develop new technologies that can find applications in a number of sites. SBM is a company with a long history of establishing a presence and developing local solutions. We are currently developing our strategy for Mexico and we will leverage our experience from similar local setups to maximize our ability to be successful.

Q: What enables SBM Offshore to create a competitive FPSO lifecycle offering?
A: It took a long time for SBM to develop the expertise it has today. SBM has been very diligent in growing from one FPSO to being the leader in this market. A key aspect is that we do not just develop FPSO technology and sell it, we develop and operate it ourselves. By being an operator, we learn how to proceed in a safer and more efficient way before including that knowledge into our technology development groups and engineering standards. This means we continuously improve our products. Having this approach enables us to really harvest the benefits of that lifecycle process. The key is to be able to stay at the high level of sophistication that we have today. Operational efficiency for our fleet stands at over 99% and our safety record is very strong.

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Q: What is your company’s value proposition for owning vs leasing solutions for oil companies in the current market environment?

A: Considering the current operating model, we think our lease and operate scheme is going to be very attractive for our clients, as it is less CAPEX intensive. Either way, the global demand for FPSOs is going to remain strong, especially in markets such as Brazil, West Africa, and the Gulf of Mexico. These look promising for our products, but we all can see that 2015 is probably going to be a slow year. Nevertheless, we expect oil companies to prepare for the market’s recovery. SBM also has a product line focused on brownfield, which includes life extensions, relocations, and offshore optimizations. All of these are attractive solutions that the clients can consider now in a CAPEX- restrained market.

Q: How do you align the interests of PEMEX or other field operators, FPSO operators, and the supply chain in the Mexican FPSO market?

A: We are all looking for ways to do things in a safer, more economical, and more efficient manner. By working together with our clients, we can provide our experience and jointly find a safe and economic way to develop the fields. A key to this is to engage early so that SBM Offshore, as a contractor, can understand the limitations and the clients’ drivers. This enables us to develop suitable, safe, and efficient solutions.

Q: What are SBM Offshore’s ambitions to contribute to the development of the Mexican oil and gas industry?

A: Our ambition is very clear. We are going to establish a local presence in Mexico as we have done in other countries in the past. The key for us is to be a local entity and develop a local supply chain with local partners. Of course, we must always balance economic and local requirements when it comes to how much of the project will be fabricated in the country and how much will be coming from a foreign supply chain.

We will analyze that in more detail as we move forward. At the moment, SBM Offshore will focus on local solutions with local partners, which we deem as the right thing to do in Mexico. We expect many of our current clients to work with PEMEX, which can benefit strongly from the existing relationship between its new partners and us as contractors.