Ricardo López
Local Division Manager for Process Automation and Local Business Unit Manager for Industry Solutions
View from the Top

Setting New Boundaries for Offshore Automation

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 13:59

Q: Which are the projects that best illustrate the capabilities of ABB in the oil and gas industry?

A: Over the years, we have grown our process automation division to become the leaders in electrical systems integration. We have a wide variety of products to satisfy the needs for electrical solutions in offshore production platforms. The current jewel of this division is the platform that ABB built as part of a consortium with a local platform manufacturer,which was delivered to PEMEX in 2007. For this project worth US$150 million, ABB had full EPC responsibility for the process modules, automation, and electrification of the platform. Since then, we have been able to replicate similar deliveries for PEMEX, allowing us to become the key supplier for these types of solutions.

Q: How is ABB able to differentiate itself from its strongest competitors in the market?

A: There are a great number of players in our segment and most have an international reputation. Nonetheless, what sets ABB apart is its proven experience and the high-level projects in which it has been involved in Mexico. Our competitors’ approach is focused on specific requirements expressed by the customer, while ABB’s focus goes beyond that and offers additional value by providing integral solutions based on our strengths in the project management, automation, and power industry. Our comprehensive portfolio of solutions is helping worldwide oilfield operators to optimize their energy consumption while increasing the reliability of their systems. CFE and PEMEX, two of the largest companies in the country, have seen how our portfolio of products and expertise can solve any electrical challenge they might face. Another important benefit of contracting with ABB is that we can tap up our international resources for a specific challenge. The Nuevo PEMEX project brought together technologies from Australia, Germany, Sweden, and the US, meaning that we can use every single development ABB has made around the world to tackle any challenge.

Q: What successful strategies has ABB implemented in order to secure these types of projects?

A: Many different aspects are very important when participating in a tender for a large oil and gas project. First of all, we need to offer state-of-the-art products, since customers want to be sure that they are investing in the latest technologies. Another key aspect is the ease of operation. Our customers already have big challenges to overcome, so they want the products they buy to simplify their operations, not complicate them. Likewise, the lifecycle cost of the product is also a determining factor to win a tender. If customers conduct a lifecycle cost analysis, they quickly realize that ABB provides the most effective option among the different alternatives. Besides, our commitment to strict on-time deliveries and to share the risk is what helps us be the most attractive solution provider. EPC contractors generally want to reduce a project’s initial costs and delivery times. For these clients, we propose solution packages that will minimize interfaces and reduce risks. The combination of lower costs and diminished risks is keywhen negotiating with EPC companies.

Q: Which are the most successful technologies that ABB has introduced to the oil and gas market in recent years?

A: ABB is known as one of the leading power distribution suppliers in the world. The challenges the oil and gas industry faces in terms of energy transmission should only be managed by skilled and experienced providers. For the oil industry, we are selling an offshore power distribution solution that transmits electricity from land to marine facilities. It is based on voltage source converter technology, which has the capacity to transmit power underground and underwater over long distances. This solution greatly contributes to environmental practices since it enables the use of invisible power lines, neutral electromagnetic fields, and compact converter stations. On the automation side, ABB has a complete line of service products, such as remote system diagnosis, which can be used in offshore facilities. These technologies can help make maintenance operations more efficient. We want to launch this product line in Mexico because the market is changing and our main customer is going to face competition, so it needs to take advantage of technology in order to become more efficient and productive. PEMEX is already shifting to a value-driven company. There have been recent instances in which cost was not the main driver in its purchasing decisions, since PEMEX is taking advantage of the new regulations to base its procurement on value instead. This provides ABB the opportunity to offer added value through technologies and services.