Roberto De La Garza Licón
Port Authority of Dos Bocas
View from the Top

Growth Ambitions in Dos Bocas

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 14:05

Q: The port of Dos Bocas not only serves as a port for the oil and gas industry, but also as a logistics hub for other industries. What are the respective roles of the different activities in the development of the port?

A: The port of Dos Bocas was built by Pemex and started exclusive operations for the company in 1982. Since the establishment of the Port Authority of Dos Bocas in 1999, we are gradually diversifying the port’s functions. Supplying services to the oil industry remains our core business, but we are planning ahead to create an optimal environment for the development of different activities in the port. For example, we are constructing a second pier, which will be dedicated to commercial activities such as sugar cane, tourism, and various types of cargo. This allows us to locate all fluid-based activities for the offshore oil and gas industry, such as drilling fluids, barite, cement, brine, nitrogen, xylene, and oil residuals such as fuel oil and diesel, on the first pier. As you can see, the oil and gas industry is our core business, but we are working hard to create a multi-purpose port where various economic activities can prosper side by side and drive economic growth in the State of Tabasco.

Q: What is the main philosophy underpinning your strategy to reach the critical mass required to become a primary service hub for the Mexican oil and gas industry?

A: Our core infrastructure is the Dos Bocas multi-purpose terminal – with a length of 2,099m, a navigation channel with a 100m width, and dock space of 300m and a second dock of 250m under construction, and a water depth of 9.75m - provides logistical support to exploration and production activities in the Bay of Campeche while also providing an operational platform for other commercial and industrial activities.

Currently, a 70 hectare oil-related industrial park is under construction at 1.8km from the multi-purpose terminal. In this new industrial park, we will be creating clusters for different oil and gas related activities and it will host the Dos Bocas business centre, which will be both the headquarters for the Port Authority of Dos Bocas and office space for companies operating in the port. Development of the first part, representing about 50% of the industrial park, was recently completed following the construction of roads, services such as water and electricity, and the installation of fibre optics and communication infrastructure.

We are also working on the second part of the park and currently, we are filling and leveling all the land, and are going to construct the roads and put up the fence in 2012. The investment in 2011 reached MX$55 million (US$4.26 million), which approximately matches the cost of the first part. To develop the second part, we will be investing about MX$150 million (US$11.62 million), because this will include the main electricity supply plant. This investment is essential since we are trying to bring in various companies with high energy requirements.

We have three companies that want to set up in the industrial park: Halliburton, Weatherford and a local company dedicated to the treatment of hazardous waste from the oil and gas industry. There is a total of 35 hectares available in the first phase, two of the companies want three hectares and the other one requires 10 hectares, which means we have already filled 25% of the total capacity built in both phase one and two.

Q: What will be the future of rig construction and maintenance in Dos Bocas?

A: Several maintenance projects have been completed here in recent years, and at the moment Grupo Evya is building a rig in the port, using 14 hectares of land. When we offered them the land we were still constructing the multi-purpose terminal. There wasn’t any dredging there because there was no water reaching the future dock space at that point. Grupo Evya believed in us, and currently they are expanding their 600 people workforce by another 1,000 people. This creates a lot of employment in the region, where we have a lot of qualified people, such as certified welders, due to a long history in pipeline construction. Almost all the people that worked on the rigs are locals, although the supervisors came from other parts of the country or from abroad. In the near future, a shipyard will be set up in Dos Bocas and another rig is scheduled to be constructed, creating an even greater demand for certified and skilled people. I think that the development of activities in the port will put a lot of  pressure on the authorities to expand training capacity in the region. This port will be a great centre of activity, and we are going to provide everyone with tools to invest in it, but we also want to create jobs in order to help the government achieve all their goals.

We also want to obtain terrain from Pemex in the port where we want to construct a rig yard dedicated to maintenance that can accommodate three to four rigs at the same time. We know that there will be a lot of drilling activity in the area, so there will be an increasing demand for maintenance facilities, and we can meet that demand by planning ahead.

Q: Which dynamics define the relationship between the port of Dos Bocas and other ports on the Gulf of Mexico, and are your development ambitions appreciated by the other ports?

A: Some of the other ports are very concerned about what we are doing here. Both the ports of Dos Bocas and Tuxpan are where the business is right now; we are at the centre of exploration and development activity. Some business is already moving from Ciudad del Carmen to Dos Bocas, because we are demonstrating that we can do it right here. Grupo Evya is demonstrating that we have the infrastructure and human resources required for large scale construction activities. We can compete on everything, but Ciudad del Carmen will continue to have a competitive advantage based on its proximity to Cantarell and Ku-Maloob-Zaap. Our competitive edge is based on infrastructure that Ciudad del Carmen cannot match since it was designed as a fishing port and cannot easily be expanded or deepened. While Ciudad del Carmen might be closer, suppliers and service providers can ship greater loads from Dos Bocas using larger vessels at a lower cost.

In the future, we might also be able to compete on cost and infrastructure for rig construction and maintenance work with the port of Tuxpan, where companies such as Swecomex and Grupo R are operating. Today, we are limited by the fact that we have only 14 hectares available and can therefore receive a maximum of three rigs at a time. Working on three rigs is very big business, and maybe these companies will be very interested in coming as soon as we have that infrastructure that is currently in the construction or planning phase.