Surviving 2020 to Produce in 2021By Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 04/08/2021 - 12:22
Q: How did Fieldwood adapt to the circumstances of such a difficult year?
A: One of the most important lessons that we learned was to improve the adaptability of our operational processes. This includes offshore operations of the two drilling rigs, construction activities taking place at fabrication yards and the construction and installation of subsea pipelines. We concentrated our efforts on protecting the health of our employees and contractors. We went from not knowing anything about the COVID-19 disease to adapting our processes of embarkment, disembarkment and medical evacuation to deal with COVID-19 on a daily basis. We are incorporating new information and updating our procedures in real time. Advances in testing technology were remarkable. The availability of rapid antigen tests in Mexico allowed us to speed up our operations by eliminating quarantine periods for embarkation. Fortunately, we have not stopped operations throughout the entire pandemic.
Q: What do you consider to be the most important differences between 2021 and 2020, from an operational viewpoint?
A: During the first half of 2021 we will focus on the drilling, construction and installation programs in Pokoch and Ichalkil in order to achieve commercial production operations during the second half of 2021. Every day, we work relentlessly toward achieving this goal and to reduce the impact that COVID-19 has on our operations and suppliers. The pandemic is not over yet and we expect the challenges to continue this year and we must continue to be vigilant and react quickly. Despite vaccination efforts, we expect to see more COVID-19 cases during 2021, therefore, our number one priority, to preserve the health of our employees and contractors, is to ensure that everybody follows strict testing and isolation protocols to prevent contagions. 2021 will represent a historic milestone for the Ichalkil and Pokoch projects. After five years of intense work and significant investments required to appraise and develop these fields, we will start the early production phase of the project.
Q: How would you describe your experience throughout the drilling of the Ichakil-4 and Pokoch-2 wells?
A: We began drilling these wells just after the pandemic was declared in March 2020. We decided to adapt our drilling operations to that circumstance, instead of stopping and deferring operations altogether. We also modified our financial plans to reflect the incremental costs related to COVID-19. Currently we have completed drilling Ichakil-4 and Pokoch-2 and we started drilling our Ichakil-6 well. In addition to COVID-19 challenges, we also had to face significant challenges characteristic of drilling in deep and high temperature environments with variable pressure regimes. Fortunately, we were able to overcome these issues successfully. The structural design of the wells required for our Cretaceous and Jurassic objectives is quite complex. During 2021 we expect to complete four wells (our original two appraisal wells and our two development wells), bring production online and continue drilling Ichalkil-6.
Q: How does the infrastructure that you are building fit the latest technology?
A: We focus overwhelmingly on sustainability and we go beyond what is required for regulatory compliance in Mexico. To this end, we adopted technologies and procedures that minimize environmental impact during construction and installation operations to honor our commitments. The adoption of standards issued by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), demanded more detailed analysis to identify the full extent of environmental impacts caused by our operations and required strict mitigation measures. For example, we selected a reel-lay technology for the installation of our subsea pipelines, allowing welding, coating and testing activities to be conducted onshore and once the pipeline is ready, it is spooled on board a lay vessel, hence minimizing environmental impacts offshore. It is my understanding that we are the first company to use this technology in Mexico. In addition to technology selection, we also hired marine-biologists to supervise the installation activities and ensure that the habitats of protected species are not disrupted. We are convinced that investing in sustainable infrastructure and operations is essential for the oil and gas industry in Mexico.
Fieldwood Energy E&P Mexico is an E&P company that focuses on offshore Mexico. Based in Mexico City, in 2017, Fieldwood became the first non-PEMEX related company in 75 years to drill an offshore well on Mexican territory.