Christian Rodríguez
Country Manager
Core Laboratories
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View from the Top

Successful Decision-Making Based on Technology

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 18:09

Q: What is the main added value that Core Laboratories offers compared to its competitors?

A: The company’s core business is its technology, which has a direct impact on a big percentage of the decisions operators make. Given the market’s downturn, these companies are willing to spend more money on innovative technologies to survive. In addition, as Core Laboratories has significant operations worldwide, we can compensate areas where activity is low with others where activity is higher. Our two main advantages are technology and being located in the major producing basins of the world. Our company operates in two business segments, reservoir description and production enhancement. Some of the new technologies that we are introducing into the market are related to completion diagnostics, which fall under the production enhancement segment. On the reservoir description side, some new technologies have to do with digital rock characterization, which in basic terms consists of CT scanning. By scanning the core, we have been able to deliver data to our clients in a matter of hours. Before this technology was available, operators waited weeks or even months to get this type of information, which is crucial for decision-making. In fact, the company has a group that is solely dedicated to finding new ways to execute these processes as CT scanning is becoming very popular among market participants. This industry-leading technology will be available in Mexico in the coming months.

Q: What information can your clients expect to receive as a result of your services?

A: Before, operators were just stabbing in the dark or had to wait weeks or months to acquire meaningful data. CT scanning has changed the game. This does not mean that CT scanning should replace laboratory data; it is actually meant to complement it. With this instrument, we can determine all these characteristics while taking into account the fact that we still need to take real measurements to complement the CT scanning information. The software we developed internally uses more than 80 years of historical data from other fields that have similar characteristics to those our clients are working in to determine important reservoir characteristics. Concerning how this can ultimately help production, depending on the reservoir and type of rock, the results vary but we can comfortably confirm a 5 percent production increase in many cases. Regarding unconventional shale resources, this increase could be as much as 13 percent. When we deliver routine core analysis and special core analysis, the resultant data has a direct impact on early decision-making. Our clients can also calibrate their logs and input those numbers into their petrophysical models to make important decisions about fracking, completions or reservoir quality.

Q: Is there a project that best illustrates the company’s capabilities in the production segment?

A: Enhancing Oil Recovery (EOR) is an area where PEMEX could really benefit from. For example, companies operating in the Permian Basin are taking advantage of this because this region is experiencing its fourth boom. We have helped the industry to revive formations that were abandoned or forgotten about. The NOC could benefit not only from the shales in their unconventional reservoirs but from their conventional resources too. Historically, PEMEX has not always used the technology that is available due to budgetary constraints. Now, we are seeing that it is willing to invest in areas that decades ago it would not have considered. Things are changing and I believe we can support them to invest in these areas. The new administration has promised to inject more resources in the production segment, opening a whole realm of opportunities for PEMEX to focus on new technologies. The company has always been our biggest client and supporter in the country and we are open and hoping to continue working with it.

Q: What fields are most attractive for the company to work in?

A: Our focus should remain on PEMEX’s two main fields, as well as shallow offshore areas in the marine region located in the northeast and southwest Gulf of Mexico. PEMEX knows that the company needs to focus on these fields and we want to continue to be part of this too. In addition, with new companies coming in and JVs being created with international operators to participate in farmouts with PEMEX or some other companies, deepwater is an area that is gaining a great deal of interest among industry participants. We are observing that some operators are focusing on deepwater production in the south side of the maritime border and will continue to receive huge focus in the next few years. In this scenario, Core Laboratories holds a significant advantage due to its long track record working with operators with activities on the US side. These companies are beginning to show interest in the Mexican side of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. We already have a relationship with them and it is just a matter of transferring what we have already learned in those areas and applying that knowledge and experience to the other side of the border.

Q: What will be Core Laboratories' priorities for the future?

A: The company will prioritize local capabilities. My focus is on growth, in not only services offered but also adding and training technical personnel. We proactively focus on the areas where we know activities are going to be high. For instance, 20 years ago we had a laboratory in Villahermosa because a lot of activity was going on there. Then, some of the focus went to the northern region and we set up a big facility in Reynosa for some time. PEMEX decided that it was not a good financial decision to continue investing in that area and so we shifted our focus to the marine region. This is where we stand right now and the plan is to grow this facility as it is located in Mexico’s oil and gas hub. The new administration has decided to move PEMEX headquarters to Ciudad del Carmen for this same reason. We are constantly growing to make sure we are ready to work with PEMEX and the new entrants as well.

Q: How will the Mexican and US subsidiaries work together to strengthen this goal?

A: The dynamic between Houston and Mexico within the Core Laboratories team is crucial. Mexico and the US fall into the same silo and the teams cross-train each other continually. We rely on Houston personnel to train our Mexican recruits thanks to decades of experience they have under their belts. Mexican personnel also go to Houston and train with US personnel based on the experience we have obtained in the last few decades by working with PEMEX. We are a dynamic team that is constantly being cross-trained and this makes it easier to grow our footprint in Mexico because we have the support of our northern neighbor.

Core Laboratories is the leading provider of proprietary and patented reservoir description and production enhancement services. With over 70 offices in more than 50 countries, it offers services to major national and independent oil companies.