Rubén Benítez
CEO
Integra Marine Services
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View from the Top

Marine Consultant Focuses on Training and Certification

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:42

Q. What was Integra’s strategy for managing the industry slowdown in Ciudad del Carmen over the past few years?

A: Integra is now focusing on more niche areas of the market such as training, ship agency services and representation, which were not an industry focus before the downturn. We have been working to provide administrative work for our clients, which is a main need for companies arriving in Mexico for the first time. The company also is looking beyond the oil and gas market, turning to other opportunities such as the aerospace and automotive sectors. We could diversify because of our alliances and agreements with other companies like 3A Composites, an American business that provides industrial resins for the aviation industry. We have also approached global shipping company MSC to begin expanding our service into transport and logistics. Our core business is still in oil and gas but for smaller firms like Integra, diversification was necessary to survive the market conditions of 2016.

Q. What oil and gas projects is Integra involved in?

A: Integra is providing administrative services to the oil and gas industry such as training and ship agency services. As shipping agents we represent both international and national companies. We provide more administrative services to a number of clients, spanning certification processes, boat protection plans and helping create shipping companies. We realized that the difficulties the oil and gas industry faced has caused problems between some companies and Mexico’s maritime authorities. Integra is well-positioned to advise these companies.

Q. What maritime challenges are the winners of December’s deepwater round going to come up against?

A: The international oil and gas operators will come to Mexico with their own ways of working and with a more corporate, business-oriented industrial vision. As IOCs they will require more certainty about results and more operational cost-efficiency, which are not qualities PEMEX always embodied. Adapting their established processes to the Mexican oil and gas industry is the biggest challenge international companies will face when expanding in the  country. Mexico has the talent, knowledge and experience to produce the same quality the IOCs are accustomed to but it still retains a certain way of doing things that foreigners may not be used to.

Q. Is the Mexico maritime sector ready to take on the surge in deepwater activity over the coming decade?

A: Yes, we believe the Mexican maritime sector is ready to take on the challenge. PEMEX has worked as hard as any other company when it comes to new technologies and regulation. In fact, PEMEX adhered to several standards that were stricter than their international counterparts, especially in security and safety. Mexico has a lot of technical and creative talent in oil and gas, the only things lacking are the official certificates to prove it. Training has been and remains a hot topic in the Mexican oil and gas industry. Since PEMEX’s procurement function changed, contracts have dried up and the lack of projects has interrupted the regular training oil and gas workers were getting through this type of work. International companies will have to pick up where PEMEX left off in terms of training its workers.

Q. How is Integra positioned to assist new, international players entering the market through licensing rounds?

A: First, Integra must win the confidence of international newcomers. To achieve this, we acquired Trace certification. This means we comply with Trace’s due diligence standards in terms of financing and ethics, giving international clients certainty about Integra’s service standards. We are still seeing good results because we have kept our doors open to any opportunity that comes our way. Before, we could not even approach companies like Seadrill or Fieldwood but now international companies like these keep us in mind because of our certified compliance standards.