Javier Dávila Bartoluchi
Energía Integral
View from the Top

Tailoring Software to Gaps in the Process

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:11

Q: What bottlenecks are new operators expected to face when entering the Mexican market?

A: We are experiencing a culture shock. New operators and investors know what they are looking for. When they assemble their teams to work in Mexico they have problems finding good middle management people. Many workers have PEMEX-related experience and that company’s culture is integrated into their practices. They do not know how to speak the language of business, they only speak in operational terms. Entrants into Mexico, particularly their top management, are struggling with this gap and it can become significant if they do not pay attention. One of the best ways to reduce costs is to digitalize the industry, which includes creating more operational methodologies to fill the gap between middle and upper management. The efficiency of infrastructure must be improved to meet the new requirements of the industry. This demands more operational control and sometimes not all workers are used to those kinds of requirements.

Q: What are the main problems new operators are encountering?

A: One problem is the aging infrastructure, maybe not so much because of age but because of lack of maintenance. They often find equipment that is not in operational condition or pipelines with poor reliability. The solution is to pay more attention and establish new methodologies as well as being stricter with regard to the control of programs and new technologies. Of course, that requires investment but the small companies that are operating the first contracts are still having difficulty deciding how and when to invest. That has caused a slight delay in launching operations in many of the original fields. Some of the operators have spent almost a year checking and comparing what they received in terms of E&P blocks with what they were told they had received. I believe they must check their investment programs. On the other hand, CNH has learned from the first rounds and the new rounds are improving greatly. In many respects, CNH is doing a good job and is learning from its experiences.

Q: How have you been helping these new operators to evaluate the installations they have received?

A: We have what we call fast diagnostics. This entails sending people to the field to help operators get an overview of their situation. Through a very quick assessment we can estimate with 80-90 percent certainty the conditions of the installations, which can give operators a better picture of what they are going to get.

Q: On a software level, what will be the most influential technologies in the coming years?

A: We are developing our own software that will help define workflows at operational levels to generate a plan that is more customized to the particular role of each operator, that includes a customization of their reports. We have also developed different modules for contract control. In the sector, the paperwork and the required compliance commitments demand a great deal of attention because the contracts are more detailed than normal international contracts for this kind of work. The module we have made is designed specifically to help operators control all the documentation, all the potential penalties and to keep track of required timelines. Because the requirements for information are very high, we are developing software to help our clients control information flows.

We also have another module focused on measurement to comply with all the requirements established by CNH and which is modeled in accordance with USO 10012. This issue was largely forgotten by PEMEX and the local industry for many years since there was little need for it. There is a big gap between the installations and the new requirements now that new operators are selling oil and PEMEX is supervised by CNH. We are also working on risk management. Risk is more easily detected at the lower operational levels so we should teach them to observe the risks and record them on time before that risk becomes a crisis. Most risks can be identified beforehand and we include in our software a predefined list of the potential risks involved in a process.