Victor Clavel
Safety Commercial Director
Dräger Mexico
View from the Top

Safety Solutions Provider Seeks Ever Higher Standard

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 14:13

Q: What are the main solutions that Dräger currently provides to the oil and gas industry?

A: Dräger’s portfolio is extensive although we focus on industrial security equipment. Right now, we have a contract with PEMEX for H2S detection, focusing on SCBA equipment for emergencies. Our main solutions are autonomous equipment, portable detection, fixed detection or GDS, and confined spaces solutions. Safety is paramount in the oil and gas industry, where strict regulations make companies invest an important amount of resources to keep their safety measures up to date. This makes this a crucial area for PEMEX and it does not spare any resources to satisfy its workers’ safety needs.

Q: How can Dräger’s equipment minimize the potential impact that a technology failure could have on PEMEX’s production?

A: Any halt in production results in losses amounting to millions of dollars per day. PEMEX seeks to avoid any such inconveniences by investing an enormous amount of resources in safety equipment. To that end, our products may not be able to prevent a fire on a platform, but they can prevent or decrease the risk of injury. The most common danger in platforms is H2S, which our equipment can detect quickly. Instructed to do so by a series of sound and visual alarms, workers can put on their safety equipment and evacuate the platform. Our mission is to ensure that, every day, workers can safely return home. Since companies cannot stop operating and cannot stop drilling, they cannot stop investing in safety measures. Obviously, budget cuts are going to affect us but this impact should not be too serious. In the medium-term, some projects may be postponed but we expect that a recovery in oil prices will soon come and minimize the impact on safety companies like Dräger. Industries like refining and maintenance will be more directly affected by the aggressive budget cuts, but the equipment area will be far less hit.

Q: How much can security be improved through better planning at the early stages of infrastructure development?

A: PEMEX is now beginning to implement such measures and some of its facilities are planning ahead in terms of their safety needs, giving us a chance to offer our solutions. We evaluate a project for PEMEX, or any engineering company, suggest the most viable solution, and ensure that a full safety solution is in place when a facility starts operating, minimizing the risk of accidents. There are naturally times when planning ahead is not enough and a more immediate solution is needed. However, planning ahead is crucial. We are more than a sales company; we are an adviser that ensures the safety of PEMEX and its employees. Alongside our solutions, we have a division called the Academy, which is responsible for training professionals in the safety area and provides training and certification for PEMEX and others. Even if clients need really specific training, we can provide it in Mexico or send the people to Germany or the US. Ultimately, we try to make all our clients self-sufficient so they do not have to rely on us for service or maintenance.

Q: Given all the new players and safety practices coming into Mexico, how is Dräger adapting its offering?

A: We will have a greater opportunity to work with PEMEX in the safety sector, while several European companies that will enter the Mexican market have already designated Dräger as their supplier. Chinese platforms are also arriving, already equipped with Dräger’s fixed detection systems. All these new players are causing higher safety standards to become the norm. Before, we could only be focused on PEMEX, but we now have to pay attention to all the new players arriving to Campeche, Ciudad Del Carmen, and Villahermosa. This provides more opportunities for Dräger given its advanced technology. With lives on the line, there should never be any cuts in quality and technology. Our current strategy is to target engineering companies and other new arrivals to offer them all our available solutions.

Q: What are Dräger’s growth expectations in the oil and gas industry in the short and medium-term?

A: Oil and gas is the main sector we work in and we expect to grow by close to 16% in 2015. In the years ahead, we want to continue seeing double-digit growth from this sector alone. An advantage we have in pursuing these goals is that we have a framework contract with PEMEX. Our challenge in the coming years is to focus on exploiting that contract in order to increase our sales and achieve exponential growth.