Integrated Approach to Shallow Water OpportunitiesWed, 01/22/2014 - 16:19
Not long ago, an offshore services company from Singapore decided to venture into the Mexican market. Bringing its vessels from Asia, Swiber Offshore got involved with Dragados on a PEMEX bid for a project to build a 77km submarine pipeline in the shallow waters of the Campeche Sound. “It was perfectly logical for Swiber Offshore to come to Mexico,” says Antonio Guillermo Venegas, President of Swiber Offshore Mexico. “Our company specializes in offshore construction services for the oil and gas industry, and Mexico is a very big market for shallow water oil exploration and production.” A match was made in the waters of Campeche, and the Asian company set up base in Ciudad del Carmen, making Mexico the central hub for its Latin American operations.
Swiber has four main divisions that work as independent companies under the umbrella of Swiber Holdings Limited: Swiber Offshore Construction deals directly with EPC projects in Mexico; Swiber Marine Services (Vallianz) is in charge of procuring the vessels for those projects; PAPE Engineering (Equatorial) delivers its engineering capabilities for the projects that the company is involved in; and Kreuz Submarine Services provides underwater support for each project. Venegas sees this multidisciplinary focus as the group’s main competitive advantage. “The Gulf of Mexico’s shallow water region continues to be the most profitable segment for PEMEX to exploit. We look forward to consolidating our position as one of the leaders of EPC services in the offshore industry in Mexico,” explains Venegas.
According to Venegas, integration means striking a balance between good timing, good performance, and good price. “We know we are probably not the cheapest option, but we do not pretend to compete on the sole basis of price,” he says. The interaction of Swiber’s four arms enables it to cover all the main services in the shallow water segment, bringing it closer to the integrated company model PEMEX looks for in its service providers. One clear example of the advantages of having such integration lies in the ability to execute the engineering elements of a project on its own. “Very few companies in this sector have an engineering arm; most of them hire an outsourced third party to carry out the engineering components of a project,” Venegas claims. “A big part of our company is its engineering branch: PAPE Engineering. Even when it is not state-of-theart patented technology, we pride ourselves on having the finest in-house technology available to support us at every moment.” Having its own engineering arm enables Swiber Offshore Mexico to work autonomously, without having to contract a third party company to complete any given EPC project. “The advantage lies in the way we integrate all four branches of the company to approach a project as a whole.”
Venegas also sees the group’s origins as a strong proof of its proficiency and expertise. “Our headquarters are located in Singapore, a country that despite lacking many natural resources has prospered and developed a distinct savvy in many fields, including urban development, water technology, petrochemicals, and equipment for oil exploration and production. Companies in Singapore import technology and pieces from all over the world, but their edge really lies in the capacity to integrate all the components into an efficient and competitive mix,” he claims. “Our company shares this distinct capability: we bring in the best available technology in the market, we integrate it, execute the engineering, and do it all in a reliable manner.”
Venegas explains that the main building blocks for the company’s development strategy in Mexico lay in the offshore construction industry and in the provision of marine services for shallow water projects. “We see ourselves playing a key role in helping PEMEX out with the availability issues it has found in offshore production equipment,” he proffers. With the substantial experience that the Swiber Group has around the globe, the company hopes to be part of the solution by providing installation, maintenance, and construction of platforms for PEMEX’s continuing operations in shallow waters. “We are in a great position to help PEMEX when it comes to installing platforms offshore. We can do it by conventional means as well as with float-over techniques that have proven to be more cost effective for some of our clients, like Indian Oil Corporation, India’s NOC.”