Security through TechnologyWed, 01/22/2014 - 12:32
The changes in Mexico’s energy sector will bring about plenty of investment that will require telecommunications and surveillance systems. Miguel Lomelí, Director General of SYNCOM International, a provider of such systems, acknowledges 2013 was a difficult year because expectations surrounding the Energy Reform halted investments and projects. Although the company became involved in hydroelectric projects with CFE, providing much needed surveillance systems for substations, the oil and gas sector is still at the core of SYNCOM’s operations. Lomelí’s firm provides infrastructure systems for skyline telemetry, which allows PEMEX to have better control of its wells, pipelines, and unmanned platforms, particularly through VHF wireless solutions in the 400MB and 900MB range. Having a remote control system enables the oil company to deploy fewer personnel for maintenance, reducing exposure to security risks in the country’s northeast region. Despite a tough 2013, Lomelí now expects SYNCOM to see more activity in well and pipeline monitoring in the Burgos Basin due to its relationship with PEMEX.
Working in Mexico’s northeast region can be difficult due to crime levels but the company knows how to get around. Unlike newcomers, Lomelí’s staff is familiar with hazardous situations that have occurred in the northeast. “Our representatives have had to stay in PEMEX facilities when doing installations because of danger in the nearby towns. They even had a curfew because of the risks of being outside.” He notes that even if remote systems limit the deployment of personnel, the equipment still needs to be installed. “I do not see the northeast region becoming much safer in the following years. Some foreign companies will venture to work in areas deemed as dangerous, but locals will still have the lead,” says Lomelí. “Following the Energy Reform, a lot of gas wells are expected to be developed in the northeast region, just as happened in Texas. We are excited, because this could result in great opportunities for our company.” While reducing risk exposure for employees, communication technologies raise concerns about possible hacking attacks. Guaranteeing information security is a must when dealing with confidential data transfers, but Lomelí says SYNCOM is aware of that and packs its products with security features that make external interventions unlikely.