Igor Sáez de Ibarra
Director General of Mexico
Grupo Ulma
Maite del Barrio
Maite del Barrio
Commercial Director of Mexico
Grupo Ulma
View from the Top

Preparing the Ground for Future Success

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 16:31

Q: What opportunities has the company identified in Mexico’s oil and gas industry?

ISI: Ulma has a great deal of experience in the oil and gas and energy sectors, principally in Spain, where we deliver know-how and expertise to refineries and shipyards. Our presence in Latin America offered the company a solid base from which to enter Mexico. We did it 15 years ago. Our first experience in Mexico was with Techint and Ternium. We then worked on the Etileno XXI plant in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, between 2013 and 2014. This was a huge project that involved mainly Mexican companies. Although we are an international company, Ulma is a global reference for quality within the construction industry and we were therefore contracted to provide our services. Mexico has become even more attractive with the arrival of the new administration and the repositioning of oil and gas at the center of economic activity. To become involved, Ulma has been forming relationships with different actors, companies and organizations focused around the new Dos Bocas refinery and we are assessing the potential of other projects. The Dos Bocas refinery was a central reason behind Ulma’s decision to focus its effort in Mexico, but we are in the market for other projects and have been present in Campeche since last year. Areas including Villahermosa and Tampico are also interesting due to the activity taking place there.

Q: Where could Ulma provide the most value in the life cycle of a major project such as Dos Bocas?

ISI: We have the capacity to participate in every stage of the value chain. In a project with the magnitude of Dos Bocas, we can support construction, each operational phase and maintenance. We could provide the future repair works the refinery may need. We are positioned here in Mexico precisely to help in the different phases of the construction. This includes the services that will be required due to the lack of infrastructure in the immediate surroundings.

MDB: Training will also be integral to those working on Dos Bocas. We can provide international-level training that is sometimes lacking at national companies in Mexico. A company of our size fosters the potential of a workforce and allows it to grow.

Q: How do the standards of quality and safety in Mexico compare against the other countries Ulma works in?

MDB: Standards must evolve and improve in Mexico but the industry has the desire to do this, which is the most important point. These improvements will play a significant part in attaining the targets that the Mexican energy industry has set itself. ISI: It is important to understand the difference in standards between more general construction projects and industrial construction in the energy sector. Construction for the energy industry is far more demanding than other areas of construction, both in Mexico and other countries. Constructors within the energy sector must be leaders in quality, security and safety, delivering the highest standards for all performance indicators.

Q: How do Ulma’s operational processes enable the company to respond quickly to opportunities in Mexico?

MDB: Ulma is a manufacturer and all the materials we use are manufactured at our base in Madrid. For this reason, we work with advanced plans that include the time that materials will take to be manufactured and shipped. But we also have a network of partners we can rely on. The change of government has affected all industries, including oil and gas, as well as the state of Tabasco, which has made it more difficult for us to clearly define a plan on how to pursue opportunities.

ISI: Ulma can provide the best technical teams to confront these challenges and we have a solid logistics network to use in Mexico. Ulma has the ability to supply the entire country. We have a worldwide policy of maintaining a fleet able to move our materials quickly and this vastly reduces delivery times.


Grupo Ulma is a Spanish construction conglomerate that incorporates subsidiaries with various services and lines of business in a number of sectors, such as agriculture, infrastructure, engineering, packaging, industrial processing and piping.