Guido Rivas
Vice President of LATAM
QMax
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View from the Top

Tackling Mexico's Drilling Challenges

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 15:08

Q: What are the main factors behind QMax’s success?

A: We have the largest drilling fluid infrastructure in Mexico and a mud plant near every district PEMEX operates in. We have more capacity than the top global service companies in Mexico. We have facilities with the ability to both store and mix drilling fluids in Ciudad del Carmen, Villahermosa, Veracruz, Poza Rica and Reynosa. The capacity of each one varies and the largest is located in Villahermosa, from where we often support operations in many locations, including offshore.

As oil field activity evolves, we might need to restructure that presence. However, at the peak of activity in 2014, QMax was able to deliver drilling fluids services to 83 rigs simultaneously across the country using that same infrastructure.

Q: How does QMax differentiate itself from its competitors and what added value does it provide clients?

A: At QMax we believe in technological differentiation. Our investment and commitment to research and development and a deep understanding of our customers’ needs are the key differentiators.

A common drilling problem in Mexico is lost circulation. Through the application of innovative solutions we have minimized the impact by using sea water and liquid chemicals that significantly reduce the cost of the fluid lost, the time to mix the fluid and the cost of the associated logistics. In addition, customers can drill more quickly through loss circulation zones, providing significant savings to the overall drilling operation.

Q: What challenges can new operators expect when planning to start operations in Mexico?

A: New operators will face numerous challenges, including political, social, economic and regulatory. However, technical challenges will depend greatly on the field and where their operations are located. For example, shale drilling is expected to become more active but it requires a completely different approach because traditional systems might not work or deliver the desired results.

As we move toward developing more fields, there will likely be a strong focus on lowering lifting costs. Offshore operations will bring different challenges but ultimately, cost control and the best technological applications will become more important. Drilling operations have evolved tremendously and the more specialized drilling becomes, the more specialized drilling fluids need to be. QMax can help operators overcome these challenges.

Q: What added value can QMax provide to the new players entering the market?

A: One of QMax’s strengths is that we try to fully understand our customers’ needs so we can provide solutions that are specific to those needs. We are a quick decision-making company. We can provide answers, whether positive or negative, to any customer in a matter of hours. That is an incredible amount of added value compared with some of our competitors that must follow a more complicated decision-making process. We quickly tell our customers whether we can help them. If we do not have the ability to do so, they can quickly move on and talk to somebody who can. But if we can, then we do. We really deliver, no excuses. That is our motto. That level of trust summarizes the added value we can provide to our customers.

Q: Which process creates the most costs for operators?

A: The majority of the cost overruns in drilling operations are a result of unplanned events. Several drilling problems occur without major notice and the ability of a fluid services company to help operators reduce those overruns depends on how quickly we can react to prevent or stop those events. This is one of QMax’s strengths. We use predictive software to evaluate where we are in the drilling operation to prevent or correct problems such as lost circulation or differential sticking, among others.