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Q: How have the services you offer evolved since entering the Mexican market in 2008?
DM: We entered the industry in 2006 with a specific line of services, mostly to do with personnel outsourcing for offshore and onshore drilling, as well as groups with expertise in different areas of reservoir, geoscience, bidding and HSE for projects such as front-end loading (FEL), production optimization and field development, among others. We also participated in CNH rounds 1, 2 and 3 and we carried out studies for different fields and reservoirs for our clients. In 2012, we started operations in Colombia, where we are doing an exceptional job, becoming leaders in our sector, with a 90 percent market share and over 700 employees. In Mexico, we stopped operations for some time around 2014, before starting up again in 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all companies were forced to change their business models and work in an environment of low oil prices and little activity. Nevertheless, we were able to close deals with Jaguar and Pantera E&P, which focus on gas wells. When Jony Borges came on board last year, Consultec was able to extend its business model to other areas such as natural gas and EPC services. Now, we can really say we cover almost the whole cycle of the oil and gas industry, involving engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning. We have also been forging alliances on a national and international level, which has allowed us to participate in various bidding processes. Consultec’s growth has been trending heavily toward integrated services, EPC and natural gas areas.
Q: How are you preparing yourselves for an eventual green transition by diversifying your client portfolio?
DM: We are already gearing up for an eventual transition to cleaner energy. There are many in the industry who believe that there is only enough oil left for a finite amount of time. However, we do not yet know quite how much time we have and there are still lots of reserves to be explored across the world. Gas in particular is experiencing a real boom. Mexico, among other countries, is looking to ramp up its gas production. One of our biggest clients, Jaguar-Pantera, is very committed to gas production, a mission in which we support them. However, we want to be prepared so we can grow hand in hand with the emerging industry of renewable energy, which requires a great deal of investment. Oil and gas service companies are also evolving with the times and are committed to the clean energy transition across their global operations.
JB: We grew as a company oriented toward providing services for operators and services companies in the oil industry, supporting them by developing studies from the exploration stage right up to well abandonment. However, with all the changes we are seeing now in Mexico concerning energy policy, Consultec felt the need to explore new markets. Moreover, we have really started to focus our attention on the gas industry by looking to make alliances with different types of businesses and companies involved in that sector. Considering that Mexico will continue to depend on cleaner-burning gas beyond 2050, we decided to start focusing on a business model that starts with the design, construction and abandonment of gas pipelines and exploitation of gas fields.
We also want to make our mark in the world of clean energy, precisely because companies we currently work with are starting to develop clean energy technology themselves. We must move with the times. If we do not evolve, we will fail, like any business. Therefore, Consultec’s strategy in Mexico and elsewhere is really focused on gas and clean energy.
Q: How are you building partnerships to further move toward clean energy?
JB: To better understand the industry, we are creating alliances with other companies, one of which is Colombian and offers real-time technology to help decision-making and manage hydrometeorological models to provide support for businesses that want to install solar panels and wind farms. Ultimately, we aim to advise businesses where the best places are for these projects, whether it is onshore or offshore. Regarding geothermal energy, we forged an alliance with a leading Dubai-based business in this field. Together, we are carrying out some analyses for a potential geothermal project in Ecuador. Consultec is just starting to target clean energy but we are working to spread industry knowledge across Latin America.
Q: Which of your services are most in demand and which services do you expect to be more sought after going forward?
DM: Integral well supervision, which is needed for drilling and completion of wells and work over and production optimization of wells and abandonment, both onshore and offshore, is highly demanded both in Mexico and Colombia. Our geosciences services are also sought after. The services we want to develop even further involve EPC, with a special focus on natural gas. We have a new alliance with a company that specializes in flexible piping, which will allow Consultec to complete the cycle and offer integral solutions in gas pipeline EPC. We formed another partnership with a company that constructs compressor stations. In addition to these newer services, we want to maintain the high-standard of our more mature services, which we have been offering for 15 years.
Q: As STE Consultec is a recruiting and personnel outsourcing specialist, are there any areas of the oil and industry where Mexico is lacking in home-grown talent?
DM: Mexico, like other countries, has insulated itself from the brain drain problem that we have seen affecting Venezuela over the past two decades. Between 2002 and 2004 in particular, much of the technological capital and expertise left Venezuela, totaling around 20,000 people. Many of them ended up here in Mexico, myself included, bringing their expertise with them.
Consultec in Mexico and Colombia can count on a database of around 10,000 professionals graduating in relevant oil and gas areas. Mexico has a solid base of professionals, particularly in the areas we focus on, such as drilling, production optimization and geoscience. As a company policy, we seek to enrich the talent pool in every country we work in and we have been lucky to rely on local personnel for all our projects in Mexico. Moreover, most of the current bids request that companies focus on hiring local personnel first, which is an issue we support and comply with. In Colombia, our workforce is 95 percent Colombian, and while this figure drops to between 60 and 70 percent in Mexico, the remainder are mostly individuals from abroad like myself who are now settled in Mexico. Furthermore, for more specialized environments like deepwater, if a client makes a request for expertise from abroad to be brought in, we always make sure that the knowledge is shared and that local personnel work and train with these experts to gain the experience necessary to do the job themselves the next time.
Q: What new technologies are you providing training for as part of your project management and equipment integration solutions?
DM: In Mexico, we have a new strategic alliance with a company called Tachyus, which is introducing new technologies to the area of well optimization by combining both physical and AI approaches to optimize the production of mature fields. We piloted this technology with PEMEX last year for three months. These tests produced satisfactory results and were approved by PEMEX, which is now preparing a contract for further implementation. Simulation for such fields can take up to three months, this technology can optimize this time to one week, so this is a big step forward. Tachyus makes the technology and we serve as their representatives here in Mexico. We also are offering this technology to private operators with mature fields that are looking to increase their opportunities in this area.
Q: With offices in the US, Colombia and Peru, what are your plans for growth in the Latin American region and where does Mexico fit into these plans?
DM: When we first got started in Mexico, we were among the businesses with the biggest market share. By 2014 and 2015, this presence had dropped substantially, so we focused more on our successes in Colombia. For Mexico, we want to recover the market share and success we enjoyed between 2008 and 2010, which we hope to achieve by promoting new business lines. We are also looking for business opportunities in Ecuador and are making the final decisions about entering that market. Finally, Consultec is optimistic for growth in Guyana and feels it has the technical capacity and beneficial alliances necessary to gain a foothold there too.
Consultec International offers services that include integrated drilling services solutions, head hunting, project management and equipment integration. It is a Florida-based consultancy with a permanent presence in Mexico since 2008.