Fernando López
Director General & CEO
TFS
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View from the Top

New Priorities for Turbomachinery Contractors

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 12/17/2021 - 10:56

Q: How would you describe the most important points in TFS’ history and development?

A: We are a 100 percent Mexican company within the Nuvoil group that was originally founded in 2014. It all began with a Nuvoil project called the “Agosto 12” platform, which we operate to this day. It is an offshore gas compression jackup rig positioned adjacent to the Akal G Processing Center within PEMEX’s Cantarell complex. With this project, we began our process of specialization in turbomachinery. It was Nuvoil’s most important project at the time and it involved getting five turbines working 24/7 to move 200MMcf/d. Getting these turbines in place represented a significant technical effort that required a dedicated team. Before this, Nuvoil had addressed its compression needs through motor compressors but the use of turbines required on-site staff with previous experience to train personnel and verify all movements.

Once this project reached a successful installation, final commissioning and delivery, we spent one year dedicated to servicing that platform and guaranteeing its availability. Once that work was finished, we began migrating toward private markets, first in Mexico and then in South America. It was there that we found an important market niche in Colombia. We began getting contracts in that country, so our base of operations grew steadily. Subsequently, we were awarded contracts in Peru. We continue to grow in Mexico and Latin America through private and public sector relationships. The presence of private operators in the energy sector has an older history in South American countries and we continue to work with them, from power generation to gas compression. Either way, an increasing number of business opportunities have emerged.   

Q: What would you consider to be your main differentiating factors in the turbomachinery market? 

A: Our services and expertise go beyond the units themselves. The turbines are at the center of the industrial and engineering systems that we work with, but our understanding of these systems and their needs is much more integrated. When we address the maintenance and repair needs of a turbine system, we also evaluate the state of all components and auxiliary systems. A turbine can be in perfect working condition but may be attached to a smaller pump, engine or rotational component that does not play a central role in the process until it fails and affects the whole system; if left unchecked, this can cause a systemic failure that stops activity for hours or days. 

Q: How important is sustainability for TFS?

A: We work with a variety of brands and manufacturers, so we evaluate our suppliers and acquisitions based on criteria that emphasizes sustainability. We look at turbomachinery that can guarantee low emissions, particularly in relation to NOX or nitrogen oxides. The turbomachinery market is quite diverse. Many turbines are sold with traditional and emission-heavy systems but there is a great deal of innovation in regard to turbines with alternative systems and lower emissions. This also varies by country, given that some nations already have regulations in place that allow for the use of low emission turbines. We also study a system’s emissions during our maintenance and repair analysis because we want to guarantee that a system maintains a low benchmark of emissions, especially if we can guarantee that same system’s regulatory compliance.  

Another aspect of sustainability is our ongoing digital transformation process, during which we have implemented a significant amount of machine learning applications. We want the units we work with to be equipped with the latest controllers or PLCs to enable the installation of software that we develop in-house. We want to acquire a greater amount of real-time data from our units so these programs can learn more about the units’ behavior and help us prevent possible pathways to systematic failures.

 

Turbine Field Solutions (TFS) is a Mexican subsidiary of Nuvoil that provides turbomachinery along with operation and management services for its components. They offer custom design and manufacturing as well as aftermarket and overhaul services.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst