Luis González
Operations Manager
View from the Top

Partnering Means Power for Marine Service Provider

By Peter Appleby | Sat, 01/04/2020 - 09:00

Q: How has the administration’s 2.6MMb/p production goal and the progress of private players impacted Drebbel’s business activity?

A: The administration’s aggressive new policy to tap the idle fields is an important development for Drebbel’s marine infrastructure goals. This decision requires the construction of new platforms and the fabrication of pipelines to complement the existing production network and properly exploit these assets. As our level of business activity is directly related to the amount of infrastructure required by our clients, the growth spurt in the need for infrastructure has given us the opportunity to increase our bandwidth and grow. Our business model has always been to group high‐quality service providers together to execute the array of services that our clients’ projects’ need. Our years of experience working at the highest levels makes it easy for us to work with international players. We been focusing on strengthening our integrated approach in these sectors further through partnerships with other leading service providers that complement our skill set and meet the compliance and new technical PEMEX standards.

One of these partnerships is with Canyon Offshore, a subsidiary of Helix Energy, a global leader of subsea services for the last 20 years. Another key partnership is with Sulmara Subsea, a new cutting edge player in the global survey market. Drebbel has expanded its fleet in response to the opportunity the new administration introduced and to support the trenching operations that we began over a year ago, through our partnership with Hornbeck Offshore (HOS), one of the largest marine operators and boat owners in the US Gulf. The company has made a strong bet on the Mexican market and has so far flagged 15 vessels to work in Mexico. Drebbel’s portfolio has expanded in recent years to include IOCs but our main client will continue to be PEMEX. This year has seen an 800 percent increase in the demand for pipelines and platforms installation from PEMEX and we are certain this trend will continue. These news, coupled with the first IOCs having arrived to early production this year, has given the marine infrastructure industry a boost of confidence. The outlook is positive.

Q: How appropriate have PEMEX’s pipeline regulations been and what opportunities do they offer companies like Drebbel?

A: PEMEX has always emphasized safeguards and redundancies to guarantee the life of the asset for a minimum of 30 years. A 36‐inch pipeline with two inches of thickness and four inches of concrete may appear excessive but ultimately, these assets are more robust that those seen in most fields around the world. This reliance on asset integrity has not been a bad bet and it has also allowed Drebbel to flourish because we work under the highest standards of quality and safety. PEMEX is also now more willing to discuss maintenance, pushing technical concerns to the forefront of the NOC’s working agenda.

Q: What are some of the technological advantages that Drebbel has introduced to the marine infrastructure sector?

A: Drebbel carried out a study that demonstrated the technological advantages that our approach delivers in our specific niche of high‐temperature, high‐pressure pipelines. This study illustrated that rock dumping, a method for subsea pipeline stabilization, cannot meet the 30‐year lifetime that is required by regulation because the rocks wash away. We identified this and have implemented concrete mattress installation for the past three and a half years. This may not be avant‐garde technology but it is practical and fulfils PEMEX’s long‐term objective of safety and reliability. Drebbel has been able to identify the technical aspects that have made our projects, and therefore those of PEMEX’s, extremely efficient and safe. We can guarantee the integrity of assets for longer and as a result, we have a consistent rack record. We have doubled ‐ down on this by increasing our bandwidth of labor, vessels and alliances, to take advantage of our recent successes and the boom in the industry.


Drebbel is a Mexican company that delivers subsea services for the oil and gas industry. With a strong focus on construction and maintenance of subsea pipelines, the company performs layout, pipeline analysis and dredge procedures.

Peter Appleby Peter Appleby Journalist and Industry Analyst