Juan Carlos Hernández
Director General
Industrias Energéticas
View from the Top

Powering Up Offshore Facilities

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 12:41

Q: How have changes in the offshore operating environment created opportunities for Industrias Energéticas?

A: The operational environment has evolved due to a rise in environmental awareness, industrial safety, and social responsibility resulting from climate change-related disasters as well as new laws and reforms that will push and regulate our industry. All of these will support Industrias Energéticas’ clean and reliable energy philosophy. The company focuses mainly on operational discipline and maintenance activities, providing appropriate technological solutions to foster sustainable growth with the development of new clean, safe, and reliable technologies. Our microturbines have been received as safe and reliable. However, there are often established processes that need to be overhauled to introduce new technologies. We are communicating and proving our products’ advantages in strategic areas of the offshore oil and gas industry. For example, Industrias Energéticas can supply thermal energy through cogeneration to increase energy efficiency for flotels and onshore living quarters. Industrias Energéticas has seen a significant advancement in the upstream segment, but there is still a lot to do in midstream and downstream.

Q: What is your strategy to introduce higher capacity microturbines in PEMEX?

A: Even though most microturbines we have installed for PEMEX have a 30kW capacity, Industrias Energéticas can provide microturbines of 65kW and 200kW as well. Microturbines can be installed modularly, so we can keep adding to the installed capacity and generate the amount of kilowatts required by the final user. These microturbines are beginning to be applied in strategic offshore systems, such as SCADA, gas and fire systems, sidelights, and intercommunication and paging systems.

In order to achieve this, one must provide an outstanding service, strengthen personnel training, and use statistical data to demonstrate the functional ability of currently installed equipment, which is the best way to promote the introduction of higher capacity systems. The savings obtained during operations and the environmental benefits from using gas that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere also raise interest in our products. Our strategy consists of closely working with engineering firms on medium and long-term projects while keeping up to date on how this technology is being used in the US and around the world, mainly in applications for the oil and gas industry. This includes energy generation in remote locations with strict environmental requirements imposed by international environmental authorities, separation and compression gas stations, pipeline applications, and secondary recovery systems for gas and crude oil.

Q: What has been PEMEX’s response regarding the installation of microturbines in Cantarell?

A: We have so far installed two C65 microturbines with a 65kW capacity on the Akal-CI production platform and a 1.2MW configuration on the Ixtoc-A platform. PEMEX’s response has been positive each time. Cantarell is a niche that considers Capstone MicroTurbines as the main solution for its safety and strategic operational systems, as well as for new projects where clean strategic energy is required. PEMEX has even promoted a framework regulation to serve as a guideline for the engineering development of new strategic projects, both onshore and offshore.

Q: What are the main arguments you use to convince PEMEX to replace the conventional and diesel power generators, currently being used on offshore facilities?

A: We mainly focus on our equipment’s reliability. This is achieved through the advanced technology used in the fourth generation of electronics with integrated microprocessors. In addition, only the axis is put in motion, reducing failure points to their minimal levels. It is worth mentioning that our turbines do not use lubricants, refrigerants, or greases, which are harmful to the environment and contribute to polluting the seabed. PEMEX’s operational philosophy prevents the use of oil pumps, water pumps, and associated services, reducing maintenance costs by 50%. This also creates additional benefits, such as increased efficiency and reduced downtime, given our strategy of doing maintenance without halting operations. The first maintenance service on our microturbines is done after the first 8,000 hours of use. The benefits of reduced operation and maintenance costs have been proved through numerical data and costbenefit equations. 

Q: What next steps are you taking as part of your business strategy?

A: In a highly competitive environment, the quality of our products and services is the one aspect that gives us a privileged position in the market. This results from meeting our clients’ expectations in terms of reliability and availability of our equipment and services. This enables us to guarantee the final user that our installation and aftersales service will comply with world-class requirements and will be provided by a world-class company. To ensure this happens, Industrias Energéticas is in the process of obtaining an ISO 9001:2008 certification to optimize its performance and reliability. The company has a highly skilled and committed team that works under a quality management system. This is leading to good results when it comes to providing world-class services, which will allow Industrias Energéticas to enter the international market.




Capstone’s MicroTurbines power onshore and offshore operations using unprocessed wellhead gas (economic or flare, sweet or up to 7% sour) to generate three-phase, load-following continuous power and ensure reliability and mitigation of downtime during power outages. The company’s products are currently distributed to the Mexican oil and gas industry by Industrias Energéticas. PEMEX mainly uses 30kW, 65kW, and 200kW MicroTurbines, usually installed in offshore facilities. The Mexican oil company has historically used mainly the 30kW variant for its projects. The advantage of these MicroTurbines is that they are 33% smaller than equivalent generators and offer ultra-low emissions as well as reliable electricity generation from unprocessed natural gas. Additionally, due to their reduced size as well as modular design, the installation is relatively easy and implies low installation costs. Capstone’s MicroTurbines do not use oil, lubricants, coolants, or water, thus eliminating costly hazmat spill or leakage issues during transport and storage associated with diesel generators. In terms of quality standards, the company’s product line is UL Certified to meet Class 1, Division 2 of the NFPA’s (National Fire Protection Association) standard 496 and ATEX (Appareils destinés à être utilisés en Atmosphères Explosives) Certified to meet Class 1, Zone 2 requirements. Capstone guarantees its products’ reliability based on tens of millions of run hours and continuous maintenance after 8,000 hours of use.