Jean-Luc Vieux-Pernon
Vice President Energy Latin America
Schneider Electric
View from the Top

Schneider Works on Installed Base Refurbishment Program

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 13:37

Q: What are Schneider Electric’s ambitions in the Mexican refining sector, and how does this compare with the the reality of the work that you are currently carrying out?

A: Our reality is that most of our work is focused on specific refinery refurbishment projects, participating tender by tender at projects such as the Salina Cruz and Minatitlán upgrades. This type of project is limited in scope, because of the size of the contract available, which is normally no more than US$2 million. However, we have a fairly impressive success rate with Pemex on projects like these because of our installed base of medium voltage equipment being used at their refineries. At any Pemex refinery you care to visit, the chance of finding our legacy products is extremely high. One of our first priorities in Mexico is to build a complete database of our installed base at the country’s refineries, which is not that easy, because of the amount of sales we have done through di†erent channels in the past. However, this is an important market for us because of its potential size. We have to bring our sales, packaging, and refurbishment capabilities to bear on Pemex’s installed base. By auditing electrical installations, we can easily see what needs to be repaired or replaced, and although we prefer to carry this service out on our own products, we can also audit other equipment and installations. Carrying out this service at Pemex’s six refineries is the main thrust of our refinery work at the moment. Hopefully, in the months and years to come, we can grow this business in order to provide as much support as possible to Pemex.

Q: How does Schneider support the legacy brands that the company has in its portfolio?

A: Usually, we have a ten-year obligation to provide spare parts. Although this kind of technology moves slower than the consumer market, equipment can sometimes become obsolete, especially if it is over ten years old. In these cases, we have to evaluate whether it is economically viable to tailor a new board for an obsolete piece of equipment, or simply replace it with a newer model. Replacement can be particularly attractive if the legacy equipment is not current enough to feature communication capabilities, a key feature of modern hardware.

Q: How can servicing your installed base help improve the efficiency and throughput capacity of Pemex’s refineries?

A: Refinery efficiency comes from two factors. First, the level of uptime continuity at the installations: when one part fails, the whole installation could be immobilized, and this has a big impact on operating efficiency and financial performance. We can help by ensuring continuity of service through regular maintenance, and catching problems before they lead to downtime. If we do need to shut down, we can be flexible enough to ensure this happens at a time when it will cause the smallest impact on productivity. The second part of efficiency comes through monitoring. As equipment starts to age, its efficiency is reduced and an increasing amount of energy is wasted, particularly if the equipment is not properly maintained. Even by looking at voltage changes and cabling, we can find ways to improve efficiency.

Q: What opportunities do you see to add products and services to the midstream portfolio following the acquisition of Telvent? A: The fact that Telvent is now a part of Schneider Electrich has greatly interested our clients and other operators in the industry. We are currently in the process of identifying synergies between Telvent and Schneider. One such opportunity is to provide complete systems: Telvent previously had to source its components externally or develop them in-house, but now can buy system components internally. Also, the company can provide real-time management software in combination with the hardware that Schneider has traditionally been supplying. Whilst we have been trying to leverage these synergies to win major projects, this still has not happened, due to the fact that most major work currently on o†er in Mexico is being handled through EPC contractors. However, we hope that soon Schneider will land its first major project where it can utilize these new strengths.