Heerema Counts on Heavy Lift in MexicoWed, 01/25/2012 - 11:48
“As one of the first countries in which Heerema was able to establish a strong relationship with a national oil company, Mexico has been a very interesting market for us over the past decade,” says Octavio Navarro Sada, Country Manager Mexico of Heerema Marine Contractors. He takes great pride in the range of successfully completed projects for Pemex over this period, during which the company opened offices in Villahermosa and Mexico City. “We did half of the heavy lift installations in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap (KMZ) field, worked on seven complexes in Cantarell last year, and are aiming to gain a large portion of the upcoming platform installation work in Litoral de Tabasco and KMZ. Soon, there will be four more tenders in the Ayatsil field, which will be the deepest water installations to be done by Pemex in the near future.”
As Pemex starts the development of the Ayatsil field, this means installing infrastructure in 120m-130m water depth. “This is going to be the first time that Pemex is going to this water depth and the company has to learn from what has been done in the past in other parts of the world,” says Navarro Sada. “We have done at least another 50 installations all over the world in similar water depth, particularly in the North Sea, so we can show Pemex what we have done for other companies.”
Erwin Lammertink, Heerema Marine Contractors’ VP Commercial and Business Development, notes that global installation trends and technology decisions are defining factors of his company’s fleet development strategy, which in turn is a key determinant of cost competitiveness. “At the end of the day, we need to make sure that our fleet development plan is one step ahead of our clients’ search for installation solutions that meet their ever rising requirements, both in terms of operating in deeper water and handling larger topsides, and ensure that each vessel is utilized 365 days a year.” While his company is investing in advanced deepwater construction vessels and float-over installation capabilities in order to meet global market trends, Lammertink expects the Mexican offshore installation market to be driven by demand for heavy lift solutions.
“Over the years, we have seen that the float-over projects we are doing are simply out of the weight range of our current heavy lift vessels. Float-overs make sense if you physically cannot do it with a crane vessel or the crane vessel is too expensive to mobilize to a remote area. As soon as you are within the Atlantic Triangle, crane vessels are more readily available. Given the size of the projects we have seen so far, and the fact that the required vessels to lift and install the platforms Pemex is planning are virtually always available since the Gulf of Mexico represents such a big installation market, it is probably more efficient to rely on heavy lift installations,” he says. “Considering Mexico’s fabrication capabilities and the capabilities of the existing supply chain to maintain current topsides and platforms, you create an unnecessary hassle for the supply chain by going for 15,000 to 20,000 tonne topsides. This is not actually needed, because Mexico has a very sound and good supply chain.”