Timely Inspections Are a Requisite for SuccessBy Alejandro Ehrenberg | Fri, 08/21/2020 - 11:37
Q: How is Qualitech facing the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the safety of its workers and clients?
A: We have been developing innovative methods to guarantee the safety and continuity of oil and gas operations. In Brazil and Mexico, we have adopted strict protocols for shielding ourselves and our clients from the virus. They are based on international standards. We have created a system that scans our employees around the world. Their quarantine practices are closely monitored by our medical staff, so we can insure they are healthy and it is safe to allow them to go aboard offshore facilities; Furthermore, we share our safety protocols with all our clients so that we can all work under the same protocols, be synchronized and diminish risk for everyone. We have successfully provided our clients with evidences that health and safety protocols are being followed by us more rigorously than our competitors’ practices.
Q: Why is it important to be up to date in inspection and maintenance?
A: Inspection and maintenance are two aspects of an operation that cannot be postponed. Even with the pandemic, when it may be hard to be completely up to date, there are areas that simply cannot be neglected. If not done in a timely manner, risks that will eventually imperil your operations start to accumulate. An accident resulting from postponing inspections can be fatal for a company. The maintenance side is also crucial. Neglect it, and your assets will break down, causing a very costly issue. Even so, we were expecting our business to drop by more than half but thanks to our protocols, it has only dropped by 10 percent and itis already facing towards - to our pre-pandemic levels.
Q: What role will Mexico play in your portfolio in the coming months?
A: We look forward to being very busy in Mexico in 2020 and 2021. We expect to have our operations doubled during the course of 2020 and 2021. Also, we are setting up a new facility in Houston through Mexico that will strengthen our regional operations. We are very excited about the development of the industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
In North America, we will leverage our presence in Mexico aiming at our expansion in the US. Once in Houston, our plan is to achieve global contracts, while the Mexico office will focus on Mexican contracts. The USMCA will bolster our North American strategy. The goal is to have the Houston office open before the end of 2020. We also have operations in Portugal because it is the entry point to Africa and the Canary Islands, and we expect that area to grow as well.
Q: How has the Mexican culture with respect to inspection and maintenance changed since you first came to Mexico from Brazil?
A: We arrived in Mexico right after the Energy Reform was enacted. Back then, laws were not homogenized to international standards. Mexico was completely PEMEX-centric and it was governed by very sui generis regulations. The landscape now is completely different. The inflow of international companies has brought a culture of timely inspections that has benefited the industry as a whole. As the standards for inspections reached international levels, we had to instruct many of our clients to operate accordingly. Fortunately, our clients have adopted international standards and we have been constantly growing in Mexico since then. The new culture prioritizes inspections and maintenance. We all follow an industry-accepted schedule now.
Q: What added value in your services differentiate you from your competitors?
A: Among the many added values that distinguish us, the important one to be highlighted is the rope access technique. It is a method of work positioning that uses ropes and climbing techniques. It evolved from techniques used in mountain climbing and caving and it has become an extremely safe and cost-effective industrial tool. It uses fewer men and less equipment, and thus reducing the overall risk of exposure. No scaffolding is needed. All of our technicians are provided with extensive training in rope access techniques.
Moreover, we have developed our own Cloud Assessment Management System for reporting purposes. Before having that tool, we use to have the inspection done, then all data was processed back to the office facility, so the reports could be finally sent to the clients in paper format. This process used to be much longer. Now, however, we are able to input all relevant inspection data directly to the cloud system, where our assessment team are able to immediately art working, almost in real time. The client can access the report on the same day it was undertaken. We no longer provide paper reports: All work is done by using the - cloud, and the process is immensely fast. Cloud Assessment Management System is a result of our investment in our IT system, which is also very handy in these COVID-19 times.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that our Mexico team is comprised 100 percent of Mexican citizens. When we entered Mexico, our team was made up of Brazilian citizens, but we managed to have it transitioned quickly. During the pandemic, that has become an advantage over international companies, where their workers would have to fly in from abroad.
Qualitech is a multinational Inspection, Repair and Maintenance company, operating in the oil, gas and energy sector. We act as a strategic partner with efficient and quality solutions to guarantee the safety and continuity of oil, gas and energy operations. It leverages its operations into expertise in risk management in the context of industries heavy with mature assets.