Mexico is Now Aligned With the Highest Safety StandardsBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 04/09/2021 - 10:12
Q: What are the most important incentives that attracted you to the Mexican market?
A: We are a 50-year-old company that originated in Finland, specialized in helideck safety solutions, particularly netting and lighting. We emerged from the European market with a safety concept that is slowly starting to develop in the Americas as well. From our perspective, the Mexican market is booming because of the great amount of drilling activity that is occurring. At the same time, despite the continuing concerns of local operators and service providers regarding additional expenses, the safety culture within the national industry has been evolving over the last five years. Different priorities are now involved concerning the management of the business. This is what made us such a great fit for Mexico. When it comes to safety, we consider ourselves to be experts. This is especially true of our compliance with international regulations. We work and comply with European and North American offshore platforms’ safety guidelines and design concerns. In general, I would say that what has attracted us to Mexico is both a changing mindset among its players and also that it continues to be a growing market for offshore drilling. We saw this change in mindset take place before in other parts of Latin America, such as in Brazil, Chile and Colombia. The market continues to grow because PEMEX has to drill. This is their reality and it is an important role they play in the Mexican economy. I have experience working in Mexico’s oil and gas industry as well, so I am aware of the pitfalls that must be avoided and the kind of market entry strategy that must be followed to be successful.
Q: How is the use of your products connected to what certifiers and regulators might demand from drillers and drilling facilities?
A: We are one of the few companies that focuses exclusively on these product lines for helidecks. All of our lights and nets are among the few in the market that have both DNV and ABS certifications. We also comply with the global CAP437 standards, which were originally designed for North Sea operations. We also comply with other standing regulations and standards from prominent offshore markets, such as Brazil and Malaysia. All of this has allowed us to develop the right partnerships in the Mexican market. Our end users are attracted to the operational characteristics that our products can provide them because they one less item in their exhaustive HSE checklists to worry about. This is true for all kinds of drilling facilities, regardless if they use helicopters for workforce access. In Mexican shallow water operations, workers are known for using a variety of methods to get onto platforms, such as walkways or even swingropes. However, even if vessel access is more common than helicopter transportation, the facilities will still have a helideck, which means that all standing regulations and safety standards still apply.
Q: How do you convince a company like PEMEX to use your products and services?
A: We have approached them just like any other major operator or NOC. Despite their limited resources, they have as much of an interest in the culture of “safety first” as anybody else. They want to bring all their people back home safely as well. Their equipment and standards were the best of what was available to them at the time. When we approach them with our products and services, we tell them that they have what were once top of the market options, we have what is considered top of the market now. They actually have a higher need for some of our product lines due to their operational and regulatory circumstances. For example, in other parts of the world, there tends to be a moratorium on night-time helicopter travel. It is usually very rare and only allowed for emergencies. This means that our lights might not be necessarily mandated because flying is not enforced to begin with. Companies in those countries still buy our products though because no night-time flying means that pilots have little or no night-time flying experience. When an emergency occurs, their pilots are flying with no experience and they need all the help they can get. Our products are the safest solution in the market. In a year or more, we might have an even safer set of products and this is a guarantee that we can make to PEMEX.
Frictape manufactures and installs premium safety equipment for offshore helidecks, including lighting arrays and netting. It was founded in 1977, originally serving the North Sea vessel market.