Offshore Supply Still a Success Amid CrisisBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 09/11/2020 - 10:40
Q: How have COVID-19 and the oil price crisis impacted offshore logistics in Ciudad del Carmen and the Campeche Basin area, and your company?
A: Fortunately, we have avoided a direct hit to our operations so far. We are lucky enough to commercialize a commodity that the industry needs; no offshore company cuts back on the fuel supply for its fleet. This makes our line of business a priority for the industry. Our client portfolio and balance sheet are stabilized and in good shape. However, logistics across the industry have been affected in terms of processes and daily operations. These can include processing of bills and invoices, as well a communication with potential clients. This occurs because everybody is less available as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns as well as internal restructuring taking place as a result of current oil prices. Ciudad del Carmen is experiencing serious consequences as a result of this, with a significant degree of layoffs and cancellations. Companies under Grupo CEMZA’s umbrella have thankfully been spared by these circumstances.
Q: What is Enermar’s relationship with Grupo CEMZA?
A: We identified the need to have a unique fuel supplier for Marinsa’s vessels, and that is how Enermar became Marinsa’s one exclusive client. Our business has expanded since then. We began operations in the port of Ciudad del Carmen with one service station, and now our supply network covers the entire Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico. Dos Bocas is now our second-most important port after Ciudad del Carmen, but we also cater to customers in the ports of Seybaplaya, Tuxpan, Tampico, Altamira, Veracruz and Coatzacoalcos. In Ciudad del Carmen, we cater to our customers through the API’s space and through additional port space, vessels and tanker trucks.
We now manage 65 percent of the Gulf of Mexico’s fuel supply market. Our success in Ciudad del Carmen is what led us to open up the other ports rather quickly in recent years. I joined the company four years ago. Back then, we were still only exclusively located in Ciudad del Carmen, and our operations in Dos Bocas were just about to launch. We service clients in the drilling and field development sector, and their projects have expanded and diversified. Marinsa continues to be the face of the group, and Enermar is one of the most internationally recognized companies within the group.
Q: Through which methods and criteria have you expanded your lines of business beyond fuel supply?
A: We began operations exclusively with marine diesel supply and this led to a large segment of our potential clients associating us with this type of fuel. The base fluid for oil muds and drilling fluids is usually diesel fuel for land vehicles. The only difference between marine and land diesel is in pigmentation from different aniline contents and degrees of refining. We approached many of these drilling fluid companies but they insisted on wanting to use land diesel. Eventually, we convinced them to look at a sample of our diesel, and they realized that it was just as refined as land diesel. This is how we started working with them and began expanding our client and project portfolio. In terms of lubricants, we are finalizing an alliance with a prominent international company in this sector that we want to represent in Mexico. We have learned that product quality is just as important a market differentiator in our sector as availability or even price. In terms of availability.
Q: What problems have you had to overcome in your supply chains to guarantee supply during times of crises?
A: We have run into some issues when it comes to API’s shift system. We work 24/7, with tanker trucks coming in to fill up our tanks throughout that entire time frame. However, COVID-19 limitations have meant that we can only access the API area from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. This has created challenges for some of our clients; we do not deny them service but loading times have to be rescheduled. This also applies to the permitting management processes at the port. Most processes need a sign-off from both the API and customs, which under these conditions have been delayed and have created a degree of operational impact. We have complied with our deliveries despite delays. We depend on PEMEX completely for incoming supply lines. At one point, we thought that there would be a service interruption but we have not had any issues. PEMEX’s service in this regard has been uninterrupted.
Q: What are your ambitions moving forward?
A: One of our most important future plans involves the diversification of our portfolio beyond marine diesel and into land and industrial diesel. This will entail a redesign of our supply chains and a restructuring of our internal organization. This is a sector in which we are greatly interested because it will provide us the opportunity to grow beyond the limitations of the offshore segment. We are also generally seeking the broader internationalization of Enermar. This includes an expansion into American waters and other continents and a restructuring of our company into a business model similar to that of bunker traders. We are now hiring more people for our commercial divisions to make sure that international operations begin in three months despite these crises.
Enermar is a Grupo CEMZA company offering offshore supply services, particularly of vital fuels and resources such as marine diesel, water, lubricants and drilling fluids, among others.