Mexico’s Oil & Gas Safety from a Regional PerspectiveBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 08/12/2020 - 10:14
Q: How do you manage the relationship between the company’s global structure and its entities in the Americas given recent challenges?
A: We operate in over 30 countries. My regional jurisdiction covers the US, Mexico and Trinidad. We align the company’s presence in these countries with the organization's global perspective. I am responsible for ensuring the needs of our local managers and clients in these countries reach corporate leadership so that necessary on-the-ground resources remain available. When we compare the US and Mexico in terms of the current crises, Mexico is a little behind regarding the advancement of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact from low oil prices. In general, Mexico was hit by these challenges shortly after the US.
Regarding the pandemic, both countries are doing everything they can to minimize the spread of the virus. Our entire region is on high alert due to the high risk of contagion. We make sure we train and prepare all the crews that are working offshore in Mexico and in the US. We have had to implement digital options for our training courses at our training centers to make sure we do not have too many students at any one time. We follow all government guidelines on both sides of the border. We are also flexible with our clients with the goal of keeping everyone safe, while helping them maintain operational continuity.
Q: How would you compare the different countries and markets within your region in terms of safety standards, practices and regulations?
A: We are a global organization and are fortunate to have a strong corporate headquarters in Denmark that can homogenize our standards across the board in all our regions. Within our region, we adapt to changing circumstances. For example, unlike the US and Mexico, the government in Trinidad requested a full shutdown of all businesses to include our facilities, which we complied with. Through coordination with Denmark, we can enforce standards while we adapt to specific circumstances. We adapt to different levels of internet infrastructure and access when it comes to increasing the importance of our e-learning platforms.
In regard to Mexico, I think it is a very interesting time for the Mexican market, which is characterized by an ongoing evolution. The ongoing crises have hindered some of that progress. Immediately prior to these crises, everybody was very excited about what was going on here. We see that Mexico is moving toward an increase in its deepwater drilling activities, which undoubtedly brings about its own set of challenges in terms of safety standards, practices and regulations that we need to be prepared to address. We must be ready to play a role in making the Mexican workforce as internationally competitive as possible in terms of safety. The US market is also set up a little differently, with third-party accreditation authorities that allow us to work with fewer difficulties than in Mexico, where regulation can be comparably more centralized.
Q: How are you coordinating activities between your training centers in Mexico and the US?
A: RelyOn training centers have remained open throughout the pandemic in both Mexico and the US. We can also facilitate the movement of US-based trainers to our first Mexican training center to teach courses. We can also deliver mobile training that employs multiple venues, including hotels or convention centers. All of these options ensure our investment in Mexico remains secure during these crises and the delays that they have caused.
We are looking at a pretty stable time frame for our investments in Mexico over the next 12 to 18 months. Before the crisis began, we were witnessing a very promising recovery timeline for our operational volumes in Mexico, not quite back to pre-2014 levels, but something very similar. In that year, we saw a great number of mergers and acquisitions. This influenced the shape of the industry in the years since then, and we expect something similar will take place this year and next year.
Q: Which would you identify as lines of business available internationally that are a good fit for the Mexican market?
A: First of all, we are definitely looking to make more courses available in Spanish than ever before. I would personally like to see more education and courses around communication and safety culture made available in Mexico, which in my experience are greatly required in this market. These types of courses would need to be adapted to Mexico’s oil and gas culture, which is heavily influenced by PEMEX. I am familiar with this safety culture and the ways in which it needs to be aligned in order to cater to the increasing number of international operators, especially those that might be drilling in deepwaters. More technical education will become necessary for deepwater projects, and we are definitely looking to make that available in Mexico.
Q: How attractive is Mexico for RelyOn Nutec's integrated package of offerings and outsourcing solutions, such as its Training Management Services?
A: This is an exciting opportunity for us and we consider it a huge piece of our future strategy in the Mexican market. It also creates enormous advantages for our clients in the region. If we can assume more of our clients’ training responsibilities throughout these difficult scenarios at a lower cost, than we can guarantee a much more efficient delivery of a trained workforce. This would allow our clients to focus on the logistics of their fairly complex drilling campaigns. International operators will find these offerings attractive as their volume of activity increases in Mexico. It will also move us into a different position in the Mexican market. In addition to being safety experts and training specialists, we can become more of a compliance and training management firm for our clients within the region.
RelyOn Nutec, formerly Falck Safety, is an international safety training and equipment services provider for the oil and gas, maritime, industrial and wind power sectors. The company offers over 200 courses from its Mexican headquarters in Ciudad del Carmen.