Jorge Abreu Blanco
General Manager
Exterran México
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Insight

Gas Conditioning, Treatment and Compression

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 14:09

For Mexico’s natural gas industry, the promise of a bright future lies within reach. In the words of Jordy Herrera Flores, Energy Minister, “developing gas production is urgent” and expanding Mexico’s shale natural gas industry could attract a US$7-10 billion annual investment. For this to happen, Mexico first has to boost its available infrastructure. In line with this reasoning, Pemex awarded Exterran a fiveyear contract to provide gas conditioning, treating and compression systems. It was Exterran’s greatest deal by capacity in Mexico, and the company expects to get going in the second quarter of 2012. According to CEO Brad Chiders in a press release, “Exterran was selected because of its track record in Mexico and its ability to provide a total integrated solution while quickly supplying the equipment required.”

Exterran has been rapidly expanding throughout Latin America in the last decade, operating in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico. The company will build, own and operate three gas conditioning plants in the state of Veracruz and their recently-awarded Pemex contract will be its fifth contract of this nature. The other four contracts are in the Nejo Block in the Burgos Basin.

“Exterran’s main objective is to provide all the services required by customers in very short periods of time. For example, we were able to double the capacity of our Nejo facility from a 45 Mcf/day to 90 Mcf/day in only 18 weeks three years ago,” Jorge Abreu Blanco, Director General at Exterran México, says. “The strategy that we apply involves maintaining equipment in our fleet that will accommodate the demands of our customers and allow us to respond to their needs as quickly as possible. What dierentiates Exterran from our competitors is the way we manage our strategic assets and how readily available they are for our customers.”

As the year progresses, Pemex is looking to invest time and resources in determining the size of the country’s natural gas fields and the potential reserves that could help Mexico become energy independent in the coming years. It is clear that Exterran intends to be a part of this development and is already sketching out long-term plans, including construction of three oshore compressors.

“Mexico has always been an important client for Exterran and our latest contract with Pemex reemphasizes the interest and the leadership of our team in the country,” Abreu Blanco says. “As of today, our business in Mexico has grown by 70% in the last five years. The business environment is very favourable, not only because of Pemex’s investment, but also because of the opening of the multiple service contracts as well as mature fields that allow us to do business with a larger amount of companies.”

Under the five-year service agreement signed in January 2012, the project will include equipment designed, fabricated and installed by Exterran including systems for dewpoint control, with further processes designed to remove liquids from the natural gas stream to meet Pemex’s specifications. The expected total volume of the three processing plants is more than 650 Mcf of natural gas per day. Between 60%-70% of the equipment that the company needs has already been manufactured and a large majority came directly from the United States. The project will utilize more than 20,000 horsepower of idle compression equipment primarily from Exterran’s North American fleet. In addition, Exterran has also contacted several subcontractors in Veracruz to engineer, procure and construct the balance of plant components required. 99% of the sta will be local and they are already undergoing intense training.

“We have brought nearly US$200 million in assets into the country and we are very proud of our safety track record in Mexico,” Abreu Blanco says. “About 97% of our employees are local. We are honored to be here and to have support as we continue on our journey, and support in what we believe will become the first or second largest growing area for service companies in all of Latin America.”