José Aguilar
Managing Director
Oceaneering International Mexico
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View from the Top

Mastering the Deep with ROVs

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 09:29

Q: What do you see as the implications for Oceaneering in the coming deepwater rounds?

A: Most of the companies that are participating are already clients of ours, and many have some kind of open contract already in place. Before a company can do anything offshore, it has to review its environmental assets to ensure that there is nothing environmentally sensitive underwater, particularly on the seabed, that could jeopardize exploration activities. Everything in the client’s exploratory block must be registered and reported to avoid any issues when the property is eventually released, and the company must ensure that the block will be left as it was found. For the moment, we are providing these geological, geochemical, and oceanographical studies for the first stage of exploration.

We are conducting environmental studies with a major oil company on its blocks in the deeper part of the Gulf of Mexico. We are also in talks with two other majors to do environmental studies at the beginning of 2018. Of course, our principal deepwater services include remotely operated vehicle (ROV) inspections. Working in deepwater areas is unthinkable without ROVs, particularly when it comes to well interventions, and we hope to be a very important part of these new deepwater developments.

Q: What innovations are being generated from Mexico?

A: In Mexico, our focus is on deepwater exploration. We are developing tools that will make changes in how certain things are done. For example, instead of the traditional way of gathering samples from a vessel, we are doing it from an ROV. We can gather these samples in half the time and without spouting. Such new methods will reduce costs for operators. There will also be more integrated and gamechanging technologies that will initiate in Mexico. For the moment, deepwater development is still at the exploration stage. Other kinds of activities will start next year, and, at that point, we will introduce additional innovative technologies that will address the operational phases for these deepwater blocks.

Q: What are the priorities for the diversification of Oceaneering’s client portfolio in Mexico?

A: Oceaneering has products related to every stage of offshore operation, from surveying and exploration to decommissioning. Many of the offshore fields are sufficiently mature and PEMEX is considering the decommissioning of platforms and assets. We want to get more involved in all phases of these deepwater areas. Our goal is to partner with major oil companies that have leases in Mexico, and to meet their needs as they go forward with developing these blocks.

Q: What would be the ideal partner company for Oceaneering?

A: I would say that an ideal partner for us is any company that carries out services in which we are not competitive in Mexico. For example, in Mexico, we are not competitive in diving because we typically use U.S. divers, who can be expensive. On the other hand, here in Mexico, there are divers who are available at very competitive prices, making Mexican diving companies a good ally for us. To mention another example, we only have a certain number of vessels, so we are creating alliances with Mexican companies that own specialized vessels in order to expand our share of this offshore market. 

Q: What are the most recent projects in which you have been involved in Mexico?

A: Principally, we have been using ROVs for assisting in the construction of drilling platforms, and we have signed contracts with midsized oil companies that are participating in this region. We are also partnered with a company that provides environmental services, which is a good match for us because we can do all the fieldwork at sea and this company can do all the environmental reporting. These are examples of the kinds of alliances that we are seeking. We are working for many of the new operators from Round One and Round Two, and Oceaneering is receiving additional work from other companies in the region, an indication that this particular offshore market is strengthening.