René Alberto Calderón
Director General
View from the Top

Protecting Pemex´s Infrastructure

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 16:27

Q: What opportunities led the company to turn to the oil and gas industry, and what products have driven your success in this sector?

A: Recal Coatings started gaining recognition 12 years ago thanks to the business generated by the construction area of Grupo Recal, which provides coating services to protect the steel buildings built by its sister company. Although our initial focus was on the commercial and light industries, our offering quickly expanded to encompass other areas such as the oil and gas sector. Our first important project involved anti-corrosive and fire protection for the LNG plant of Samsung and Korea Gas, and Mitsui Trading in the port of Manzanillo. Our product offering can be divided into three areas, all of which are deeply intertwined and related to the treatment of steel. We supply anti-corrosive protection, passive fire protection, and thermal isolation coatings, all of which are necessary protective measures for any industrial project. By providing these three services as a package, we have effectively found an interesting niche market in the Mexican oil and gas industry. Final users strive to work with the smallest number of suppliers possible, preferring integrated services, and this has been the main factor behind our growth. The clean diesel project that we delivered for ENI-CIPM in the Tula and Salamanca refineries best depicts our abilities in Mexico because we were able to supply our three different, yet complimentary, coatings. Braskem-Idesa’s Etileno XXI is also a key project, for which we are providing our passive fire protection.

Q: What is the added value that your solutions contribute to a project, and how is this perceived by PEMEX?

A: Thermal protection, passive fire, and anti-corrosive protection are three technologies that will render a company’s installation operative and durable. Many of PEMEX’s installations are in poor condition due to the price, downtime, and risks incurred in the performance of maintenance activities. In the past few years, PEMEX regulations have undergone various modifications. The recent reviews on the parastatal’s standards require its plants to be protected in a more efficient manner, with systems that provide increased durability. PEMEX now requests coatings made from intumescent paint that provide protection for 40-50 years without maintenance, making them more suited to its new strategy than the conventional passive fire protection coatings that need to be renewed every 10-15 years.

Q: To what extent could the use of these technologies prevent or reduce the number of accidents?

A: In addition to preserving a company’s installations, the passive protection against fire also saves lives. Our coatings slow the heating impact of fire on steel, allowing constructions to resist fire for three hours, and giving people more time before a building collapses. This is mainly used on marine platforms, where evacuation is not a straightforward task. These technologies may not prevent accidents, but they can reduce the number of fatalities. Our fire protective coatings primarily focus on security and preserving lives, but they also play a role in protecting the environment, while our thermal isolation coating is protecting workers from the heat found inside machinery or pipelines. At the moment, we are not involved in maintenance projects with PEMEX, but rather in construction activities. The projects we execute within the NOC’s installations have been carried out through general contractors such as ICA-Fluor, CIPM, and Grupo Dragados, who subcontract us.

Q: As new companies entering the market create new opportunities, what type of projects are you looking to engage in ?

A: Most of Mexico’s pipelines are covered with fusion bond epoxy coating or another type of specific roll coating. We have participated in this type of project, namely with TransCanada, providing the coating for a pipeline connecting Manzanillo to Guadalajara, but this is not one of our regular activities. We are aware of the many new opportunities surfacing in the oil and gas industry, not only surrounding pipeline operations, but also in the offshore area. We are participating with companies such as Tubacero in Los Ramones, among other projects, and we are involved in the engineering and tendering phases of the six clean diesel plants. Our participation will involve the provision of the entire range of coatings that we offer.