Arindam Bhattacharya
President of Mexico and Central America
View from the Top

Innovative Technologies Achieve Cost Reductions

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 14:47

Q: What have been the most successful technologies that you have implemented for PEMEX over the past year, and what difference have they made in its operations?

A: Our operations in Mexico have always been at the forefront of technology application, and over the past 12 months, many innovative technologies have been introduced in this market. I will take the opportunity to highlight a few that are being used today; this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Within the Drilling Group, we have introduced a new generation drilling bit called the StingBlade* conical diamond element, which together with our PowerDrive* rotary steerable systems, as well as other leading BHA technologies, has created a very powerful combination that is giving excellent results in some of the most challenging drilling environments in Mexico. We are drilling more and more challenging trajectories and are cutting back a significant amount of drilling time. In one particular well, the combination of StingBlade together with PowerDrive Orbit has cut back over 30 days of drilling time compared to the average. In the deepwater projects, we have introduced our advanced RHELIANT* synthetic-based drilling fluid technology, which has helped us get better performance while reducing drilling induced damage. Within the Reservoir Characterization group, we have introduced our new revolutionary formation tester called Saturn* 3D radial probe, which enables us to get pressure measurements and samples in difficult formations where this was either not possible, or it was prohibitive due to time and cost considerations. The speed and reliability of this technology has already brought cost savings as well as provided access to invaluable information. The Scanner Family* for rock and fluid characterization services has also helped us better characterize reservoirs. The combination of these technologies is helping in identifying new reserves, which were previously bypassed because of technology limitations to acquire this information. Within the Production Group we have made advances with gas conformance technologies. Our FoamSEAL* stable crosslinked foaming gel is a proprietary technology developed specifically for gas producing fields in Mexico. Using this treatment, we have been able to cut back on gas production while increasing oil production in individual wells at the same time. We are working alongside our customers to maximize the benefit of this technology. In the North, we have applied our Broadband* unconventional reservoir completion services for horizontal multistage completions. With Broadband services we have demonstrated significant savings in terms of resource utilization and also cut back on completion time. Broadband technology allows us to focus the completions in the best zones of the reservoir and that, in turn, helps us optimize time and resources. This ensures optimized cost per barrel for the well.

Going forward, we believe multi-client seismic will be very important for Mexico. Our cutting-edge imaging technology, together with fit-for-purpose survey design in both wide-azimuth (WAZ) and full-azimuth (FAZ) modes, has proven to be quite successful in reducing uncertainties in the US Gulf of Mexico, particularly in the complex, subsalt reservoirs. We are excited about the possibility of acquiring similar surveys in the Mexican area, which will provide our customers with information that is critical for de-risking exploration plays, building regional basin models, and making the right investment decisions for very expensive projects.

Q: The current requirement to restrict headcount and reduce costs is contracted by the medium-term demand for people with the right skills and experience. How is Schlumberger balancing these two variables?

A: Unfortunately, during downturns there is an immediate need to adjust our structure to the activity level, and like the rest of the industry, we have to cut back our work force. At the same time we have established procedures for retaining talent, experience, and expertise that will be important in the subsequent upturn. This ensures that we emerge from the downturn stronger than before. Successful application of these procedures requires solid tools in place to identify the key employees, and we have very strong processes in place for that. We continue to look for fresh talent, and our recruiting team in Mexico will still recruit fresh out engineers from the top universities in the country during this year. We will take the opportunity to develop some of the fresh recruits in other parts of the world, to prepare them for the future challenges in the Mexican market.