John Lawrence
View from the Top

Local Presence Makes for Quick Turnaround

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:15

Q: What differentiates your value proposition from competing firms?

A: We believe we can become the preferred company in our line of business because we are present in Mexico and we have a lot of experience in the country. We also strive to work locally and avoid sending samples abroad for analysis as other companies tend to do. Our major competitors have their labs in Houston, whereas Petricore’s main lab is in Villahermosa. One of the biggest advantages to choosing Petricore is the quick turnaround we offer clients thanks to the strategic location of our labs in Villahermosa. This means our clients receive data back very quickly, allowing them to use the information to make important decisions when time is of the essence. Petricore is the only company in the Mexican market which offers this.

Q: What types of new technology is Petricore investing in to improve its service offering?

A: We are looking at new technologies that provide information when sample availability is limited, such as when samples exist but may not be available to take away and analyze physically. This is the case with the many samples owned by CNH, which companies can view but not remove. CNH has an obligation to maintain and protect the samples under its care but at the same time it has to make them adequately available to the industry. Petricore is developing technological solutions to address this challenge. Among those are high-resolution images and CT scanning, which can provide digital versions of whichever sample a client may need to analyze. These technologies will be rolled out as demand arises but they are ready to go.

Q: What challenges do new operators entering the market face?

A: Operating in Mexico is challenging due to various cultural factors. Mexico’s business culture will not pose as much of a hurdle as certain social aspects will. The main issues incoming companies face are questions surrounding safety and security. Operations in rural locations could be held up by roadblocks by local communities, which has historically been a problem for PEMEX, particularly in places like Tabasco. International companies will have to deal with this because the government does not seem to be making any major effort to mitigate this risk.

Q: How does Petricore’s presence in Houston enhance the service it offers to new players? 

A: Our presence in the US positions us to help companies that operate in Mexico but have their base in Houston. Petricore has employees in Houston and in Mexico, with strong cooperation between the two teams. This means we can attend to our client on both ends.

Q: How has your relationship with PEMEX changed over the past year?

A: Our relationship with PEMEX has not changed significantly over the past year. PEMEX’s work is still extremely scarce with very little activity happening. The only palpable difference is its lower level of activity and its changing payment schemes. PEMEX’s payment slowdown has improved but it remains complicated. The payment terms were increased from 20 days to 180 days. This meant we had to find a way to finance Petricore in the meantime, so we turned to the NAFINSA invoicing system, through which we now collect all our invoices. Although we have to fund this new financial system, we are relieved that PEMEX’s payments are now more regular and stable. We had to adjust our strategy to fit in the changes but the most important factor is the stability of payments now.

We have the national core analysis contract with PEMEX, which involves providing lab services for core and fluid analysis. We also hold the national contract for onshore mud logging. Still, we believe that over the next few years PEMEX will no longer be our main client.

We will soon begin carrying out work for two of the new operators and we have been doing work for other companies like Schlumberger and Halliburton on integrated projects for some time. We have also done work for Petrofac and Grupo Diavaz and some other smaller operators. As more players enter the market, we expect the services we offer to private firms to become increasingly significant.

Q: What will Petricore look like in five years?

A: In five years we hope to be more focused on providing interpretation services using the data we produce, instead of simply producing it. In that sense, we should be able to grow our business. We also hope to provide services for the National Sample Storage facility due to be built in the coming years. We expect it to be a source of work for Petricore because operators will be using it as a kind of library of samples. They will need companies like us to carry out analyses for them, using specific techniques to evaluate and capture samples that can be accessed and photographed but not taken away.