Francisco Guajardo
Vice President
Grupo DIDSA
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View from the Top

The New EPC on the Block

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 17:25

Q: What opportunities did Grupo DIDSA spot in the natural gas market after the establishment of the Energy Reform?

A: Not too many Mexican companies understood the new conditions presented by the Energy Reform. This was because many companies were working with PEMEX. Prior to the Reform, Grupo DIDSA already had a history of interaction with the private sector. When international companies entered the market, we were prepared to work with them. We had been working with Naturgy, Diavaz and Engie for many years. In the 2000s, we developed over 60 percent of the infrastructure for the wells in the Burgos Basin, in Coahuila and Tamaulipas. We realized that more companies would enter the Mexican market and that they would need to integrate great portions of local content into their operations.

Q: What is Grupo DIDSA’s strategy to increase its participation in the market through partnerships?

A: Stantec is our commercial partner in two sectors: oil and gas and water. Grupo DIDSA wants to focus on increasing its market share in two sectors in Mexico: downstream with the stations and midstream. There are not many EPC firms in Mexico, and our hope is that with Stantec, we will be able to merge all our strengths to add value to the market. We want to become a one-stop-shop for the oil and gas industry. In November 2019, we are looking to partner with Fortress, one of the largest oil and gas security companies in Mexico. Stantec and DIDSA will from a true EPC and with Fortress, we will be able to provide a complete service to our clients.

Q: What technology is Grupo DIDSA using to monitor natural gas pipelines in Mexico?

A: We are using satellite technology created by Stantec to survey our assets. The mTOOLS software facilitates the collection, storage and reporting of the current status of assets. It will raise alarms when there is any change in the project, which can be extremely helpful in regards to fuel theft or even with natural spills due to corrosion. This allows for preventive care of the assets. For example, it could help prevent a minor spill from becoming a dangerous explosion. Grupo DIDSA has been preparing itself to adapt to the new needs of the industry and has integrated technology to create new added value. We want to offer a long-term solution and service to the market.

Q: What is new in Grupo DIDSA’s business portfolio?

A: We are designing and building a network of natural gas stations for vehicles throughout Mexico. The initial consideration is for a network of 30 stations, in which we have strategic associations with the largest natural gas distributors and transport companies. Basically, the target locations to set up stations are those with access to natural gas pipelines, combined with abundant public transport. Several key factors drive the growth of this project: natural gas usage represents savings of up to 50 percent when compared to traditional fuels for consumers and price of traditional fuels rising as subsidies are eliminated. The choice of natural gas positively impacts vehicle owners financially, whilst reducing contaminating emissions.

Q: What challenges has the group encountered when seeking to participate in new projects?

A: The development of natural gas stations is capital intensive and requires great knowledge of the sector. ASEA reduced its personnel by 50 percent and CRE has had many changes in its board of commissioners. The government is undergoing many changes and the challenge is adapting to them while still carrying out projects. Legal permitting can be a tedious task if you do not know how to present the documents or do not do so at the right time. Companies must be diligent when submitting paperwork to these agencies.

 

Grupo DIDSA is integrated by companies dedicated to the development of infrastructure, with broad experience in the construction, operation and maintenance of pipelines and engineering development, among other activities.