Technology Can Solve Problems, Offer Integral Solutions
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Technology Can Solve Problems, Offer Integral Solutions

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Ernesto Ríos - Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP)
Director General


Q: How has IMP’s objective changed in the wake of the Energy Reform?

A: As a decentralized organism, IMP conducts research, technological development, innovation, scaling of processes and products, provision of technological services-oriented production, transformation-processes optimization in E&P, industrial transformation and national and international commercialization as well as specialized training.

Our purpose is to generate the technical capabilities needed by the petroleum industry. We cover the sector’s entire operational value chain, from E&P to industrial transformation, ensuring the creation of economic value and solving high-impact technological problems related to business goals.

Through applied research, we develop, assimilate and transform technology to solve specific problems and offer integral solutions through engineering and technological services. Likewise, we provide specialized scientific and technological training through postgraduate courses and professional and technical-level courses.

Since the opening of the petroleum market, we have become more deeply integrated into the industry’s objectives and main projects to increase the efficiency, productivity and growth of the hydrocarbons sector. Over its 50-year history, the institute has contributed to the development of PEMEX and the country through training of human resources and technology creation.

Q: How does IMP offer a higher added value to Mexico?

A: IMP’s main strength is its human talent. We have 2,500 researchers (131 at the National Research Institute), specialists and technicians offering Mexico a higher added value. IMP works with the capacity of 1.8 million man hours, 12 laboratories, 11 pilot plants, 21 research centers and the country’s largest petroleum information library. In 2016, we were granted 12 national and 35 international patents and registered 193 author’s rights and 24 trademarks. We also developed 160 products and services. 

Our activities to generate and assimilate new products, techniques, knowledge and methodologies applicable to the petroleum industry offer the greatest added value. Our most substantial activities are E&P technologies for unconventional and conventional field development, product handling, refurbishment and transport, biofuels and geological, geophysical and geomechanical quantitative handling.

Q: What technologies has IMP developed for the oil and gas industry?

A: In landscape shaped by the Energy Reform, IMP is reinforcing its national institutional character in the sense of becoming a hub for participating in E&P and resources transformation projects. Our main challenge is to convert the institute into a self-sustaining creator of national capabilities.

Under those conditions, reinforcing the link between research and technological application to turn ideas into results is of the utmost importance. We are aware the institute needs more agility to maximize the economic value of the products and services it creates and for that we will continue working on applications for research and technological development that ensure value is created. In this way we can help develop the country’s petroleum industry. During the last few years, IMP has developed, among others, the following 14 innovative technologies: a Venturi-type system for flow pattern enhancement (MPFV®) for control and optimization of a field’s production, petro-physical inversion of a carbonate field’s records, enhanced recovery of oils via microbial processes (IMPRHVM), transition-metric techniques to prevent organic deposition, chemical products for foaming (IMP-WETFOAM), chemical products to maintain petroleum production IMP-CDFIM-3000, chemical products to avoid foaling ESIM-1000 and ESIM-2000, electromagnetic surface inspection for ducts technology (TIEMS®), leakage detection systems, chemical inhibitors for corrosion control (IMP-ALICIM), improved processes for crude heavy oils and residues (HIDRO-IMP), a monitoring system for realtime hydraulic fracturing (Frackmovil), a portable tracers laboratory (Trazamovil), and development of the deepwater technologies center that is under construction.

The MPFV has boosted gas-well production up to 20 percent, with an average production increase of 0.33 million cf/d in gas wells and 50b/d in oil wells. The petrophysical inversion has allowed for better precision in the identification of well production potential. Microbial processes for hydrocarbon enhancement have proven effective for increasing oil production in a range of 22 to 44 percent. Our hydro-treatment process development has been recognized by PEMEX as a success. Finally, in petrochemicals we are a world leader in the development and scaling of catalytic processes for ethane oxidation dehydrogenation.

Q: What are IMP’s most significant relationships?

A: The Energy Reform has opened up great opportunities for the establishment of alliances, agreements and contracting of new players in the national petroleum industry. In the public sector we have closer relations with regulating organisms such as CNH, CRE, CENAGAS, ASEA, SEMARNAT and the Ministry of Energy. In the private sector we have worked closely with AMEXHI, an association that groups more than 40 petroleum companies from over 19 countries interested in investing in Mexico. Some of those companies have already visited the institute to identify areas for collaboration while others have entered into consulting and technology services contracts.

Q: What is IMP doing to help end the human talent gap in Mexico?

A: We train highly specialized human talent for the petroleum industry by following five main principles: recruit, develop and evaluate human talent as well as generate actions to retain it, design and implement learning solutions to improve the abilities of personnel and the institute’s competitiveness, provide development and management services for petroleum industry talent, manage the institute’s knowledge by protecting intellectual property and facilitate internal information flow and personnel access to state-of-the-art science and technologies.

In 2016 the institute provided training to 3,181 participants to develop specialized capabilities in important areas and facilitated the participation of 649 IMP members in national and international forums, conferences, congresses, seminars and symposiums.

Additionally, our scholarship program targets the attraction, development and retention of excelling personnel who exhibit a service vocation and a winning attitude. In 2016 IMP supported 10 doctorates abroad, four master's candidates, 15 thesis stays, 25 interns and 77 social services through its scholarship program. During 2012-2016 the doctorate program produced 27 graduates and the master’s program produced 27 graduates. With the support of the Talent Training, Recruiting, Evaluation and Selection Programs (PCTRES), during 2015-2016 nine students who finished their master’s program abroad were incorporated into IMP in the areas of field characterization, well drilling, completion and maintenance as well as basins characterization, among other specialties. In this way, IMP contributes to reducing the talent gap of specialized national human resources for the petroleum industry while simultaneously training new professionals who can be directly integrated into the national workforce.

Q: How is IMP planning to use the Hecho en Mexico logo?

A: IMP is authorized to use the Hecho en México logo for its technologies, products and services to distinguish them as made in Mexico products. The goal is to reinforce the internal market, promote the competitiveness of national products and foster their use. Furthermore, the use of the logo Hecho en México will facilitate the national and international positioning of the Marca IMP as an innovative, quality and value-providing brand.

Q: What specific activities does IMP expect to have the biggest impact on the oil and gas sector in 2018?

A: The Energy Reform has promoted a tighter relationship among the entire range of participants in the national petroleum industry. New companies in E&P, production and transformation of hydrocarbons require knowledge and experience generated in the country. In this sense, IMP’s and PEMEX’s wealth of knowledge will be of great value and is therefore vital for maintaining and reinforcing the agreements, alliances and joint activities that have resulted from the reform.

Q: What elements will be crucial for IMP to realize its longterm goals?

A: In the coming years, the strategic relationship that IMP has developed with PEMEX will be reinforced to generate more synergies that allow for the integration of new commercial and corporate competitive schemes. This relationship will be beneficial for both institutions and the country. IMP is committed to reinforcing its financial autonomy and sustainability through the sale of products and services that provide high-technological impact, ensuring integral solutions and generating new capacities for the Mexican petroleum industry.

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