Offshore Compliance Complicated But Not ImpossibleBy Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:05
Q: What have been the most important modifications to Lloyd’s Register’s internal inspection practices and analysis criteria as a result of COVID-19?
IEB: Like most companies in the sector, COVID-19 placed us in a period of uncertainty that coincided with the oil price crisis. This meant dealing with the challenge of reduced cash flow. We maintained our workforce intact and healthy throughout this period while supporting our clients remotely, minimizing the few operations that required the movement and onsite presence of our personnel. Achieving these goals was the company’s main priority throughout these difficult times. We also maintained our market position through digital marketing tools and the implementation of a larger digital media culture within the company. We still support our clients on a 24/7 basis. Despite these setbacks, we are now concentrating our efforts to retain our clients and add new customers to our portfolio by the end of 2020.
LA: Safety has been at the core of everything we do, for our colleagues, our customers, and society and we are fully committed to supporting client business throughout these challenging times. From a global offshore operations perspective, we’ve been helping our clients to avoid potential disruption to their operations by increasing the number of remote inspections that we carry out – from 5 to 10 percent before COVID-19 to over 25 percent after the pandemic broke out. Our client communication has increased through digital mediums, such as webinars, online courses and online meetings, providing an ongoing customer-focused service and support despite this pandemic.
Q: How do you help your clients accomplish more with fewer resources?
LA: CAPEX cuts have been considerable in most major upstream projects in Mexico, not to mention delays in the delivery of FEED work, which is essential for greenfield projects that require large infrastructure development. We have been able to accommodate to these new times by supporting our clients with our insights and tailored solutions from exploration to field development and infrastructure construction. We adapt to their calendars and, therefore, being flexible plays an important role, even when it comes to dates stipulated in our own contracts. Our clients had start dates and launch dates at the beginning of 2020 that had to be completely changed and reconsidered.
IEB: Most of Mexico’s major offshore operators that had firm plans of start-up oil production this year have had to reconsider their strategies. Others had fixed dates for drilling wells, receiving development plan approvals or beginning exploration campaigns. All of these dates have been modified and we have had to adjust our calendars. Nationally strategic projects from private operators have attempted to continue running on schedule but they have experienced substantial changes.
Q: How are you interacting with Mexico’s changing regulatory landscape when it comes to institutions governing its offshore infrastructure?
LA: In Mexico, some entities are relatively new like the ASEA created in 2015 which dynamically issues updates and new regulations for the entire oil & gas value chain, our multidisciplinary teams provide support on interpreting these regulations and analyzing applicability through different stages of client’s infrastructure lifecycle. We are an authorized third-party by the ASEA for providing technical opinions, SASISOPA certifications, among other regulatory services. Other example is the SEMAR which powers and responsibilities increased since 2017 like the new maritime authority in Mexico. It has been playing a larger role in the daily operations and development of offshore platforms in Mexico. Also, we have been working closely with the SEMAR through our status as the first company in Mexico to be a designated RO that can inspect and provide statutory certifications for both Mexico-flagged vessels and Mexico-flagged offshore platforms. We have the authorization to issue statutory certificates of compliance. As a result, we can help our clients manage and navigate these kinds of statutory inspections according to international standards. Our clients have reached out to us because they need help dealing with the changes within different regulatory entities, like the ASEA, which has been issuing new regulatory standards that are not always easy to interpret. In general, we help operators understand how these regulating entities interact. We play an important role in translating confusion into operational consulting.
IEB: We also continue to have a close relationship with CNH and ASEA. We are also certified with them when it comes to issuing our own technical dictums and opinions for all oil and gas exploration and production operations. We work on their behalf and representation, which has allowed us to assist them with their excessive workload throughout 2020.
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