News Article

Onshore Operators Agree on Importance of Social Engagement

By Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 10/28/2020 - 17:34

You can watch the video of this panel discussion here.

The role of onshore fields in Mexico’s oil and gas future will only strengthen as production levels are scheduled to increase over the short term. The first day of Mexico Oil & Gas Summit 2020 ended with a panel discussion titled “Achieving Cost-Efficiency and Operational Excellence in Onshore Projects.” This panel was moderated by Niels Versfeld, CEO of Simmons Edeco, whose introductory remarks focused on the role of procurement and contractors in the success of Mexico’s onshore operators. 

One of the panelists was Warren Levy, CEO of Jaguar E&P, who preceded the panel with a presentation detailing the current state of assigned onshore blocks. His remarks on the panel were focused on a subject that he also touched upon extensively in his presentation, which was the role of good community engagement in efficient onshore operation. “Sometimes, simple solutions can generate goodwill among communities. However, it is all about becoming a good neighbor for the next thirty years.” He also touched upon the ways in which community engagement goals were aligned with the adoption of new technologies. “Online communication requires connectivity for remote communities, which can be an issue. However, we have learned that providing access to the internet and then making publicly available portals is beneficial,” he said. 

The panel’s second participant was Gumersindo Novillo, General Manager of DS Servicios Petroleros at Diavaz DEP. Novillo agreed with Levy on the importance of community engagement and he also talked about the role that investment in local communities plays in the development of future suppliers and local supply chains. “One of the most important challenges we had to overcome was the limited availability of services. Even though we have been present for several years, companies were not ready and we had to train subcontractors and work hard to develop suppliers in the area”. Novillo also highlighted the role that regulators and local authorities play in making sure that community engagement happens in a clear legal playing field. “Authorities must ensure that the rules of the game, which already have been defined, do not change. Legal certainty is needed to attract investment to Mexico,” he said. 

The panel’s third participant was José Bosch, Director General of Oleum Energy. Bosch found common ground with Novillo when it came to the importance of more public institutions taking an active role to make sure that engagement follows fair terms, as the opposite can result in a loss of cost-efficiency due to delays. After mentioning some examples of the obstacles he has run into, Bosch summarized his position highlighting the company’s work with communities. “We have special teams that help members of the community to get jobs. We also work with landowners. In addition, we comply with every environmental requirement,” he said. “We need to have solid institutions. If we have this, there will be certainty for further investment.”

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst