Antonio Villegas
Chairman of the Board
Swiber Offshore Mexico
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View from the Top

Global Expertise Deploying Shallow-Water Projects

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 11:45

Q: How has Swiber grown in the Mexican market and what have been your flagship projects here?

A: We have over 21 years of experience globally and over six years in Mexico. Our slogan is “cause no harm.” We value safety as the company’s main objective, especially regarding our staff, since they are its foundation. PEMEX has been our leading client in Mexico but with the industry’s expansion our window of opportunity has widened. Our first project in Mexico was with PEMEX to lay 77km of marine pipeline for Line 5 to transport production from offshore to onshore. We have also worked with the NOC in the Sinan and Ayatsil-Tekel fields to install pipelines and on the manufacturing and installation of two PLEM’s at 110m underwater, which involved two 300-ton structures and an entire EPC process.

Q: How is Swiber adding value to the operations of the companies doing business in Mexico?

A: Once an operator finds oil, it tests and delimits the field and calls on companies such as Swiber to carry out the development. We take on the engineering and procurement processes and then we install the facilities. Our product portfolio includes every type of duct, flexible and rigid, and different types of vessels. Mexico is one of the top five offshore producers in the world and 80 percent of the country’s production comes from shallow waters, where we have extensive expertise. On one side, PEMEX will continue developing its offshore fields in shallow waters in the Gulf of Mexico and that is where we aspire to continue working, based on our previous experiences with the NOC. We also are interested in offering our services to new players such as Sierra Oil & Gas, ENI, Hokchi or PetroBal.

Q: What have been the most impactful changes you have perceived in the industry?

A: We have been through one of the toughest cycles in the oil and gas industry, particularly since the fall in oil prices coincided with the implementation of the Energy Reform in Mexico. This affected PEMEX in particular and prompted the company to cut expenses and staff and the NOC is still moving to complete this cycle and to become a fully commercial company on par with Shell or Chevron. There will be more changes in the industry moving forward. IOCs are venturing into this market and competition will drive PEMEX to accelerate its transformation process and adapt to a new reality.

Q: How did the downturn in international oil prices impact Swiber and its business lines?

A: This period proved difficult for us even though we are aware of how cyclical this industry is. The scenario prompted companies, including Swiber, to move to costeffective solutions. We know the market, the customers and the providers well and despite the readjustment process and its negative effects, we negotiated it well due to this market savviness. Our vessel business line boosted our profits during the price downturn since projects stopped suddenly but demand for marine services kept us afloat. During 2018, the market has picked up and we have come closer to new market entries and opened up possibilities that have made us even more competitive.

Q: How can the next administration guarantee the solid positioning of the national oil and gas industry?

A: We expect that the industry’s transformation will move forward and that the next administration will allow the Energy Reform to complete its consolidation process. We also want to see PEMEX complete its transformation into a productive company of the state as it is the leading player in the industry. The NOC needs capital and technology and it is a positive that now there is a chance for it to establish partnerships and alliances with companies that can add value to its operations. This process took quite a long time to unfold, it was necessary for decades and delayed for many years, but it is finally here and we should make it evolve. We should also encourage easy access to opportunities for private companies coming into this market.