John Lawrence
View from the Top

Vast Core Analysis Experience to the Forefront

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 17:54

Q: How is Petricore’s client portfolio changing with the progression of the Energy Reform?

A: Petricore has worked for a long time with domestic private operators. Our clients have included Grupo Diavaz, Pegasus, Petrofac and, more recently, Grupo R. Additionally, we have worked with international companies, including Fieldwood, Murphy, Talos, and with BHP Billiton in Trion. We have 15 active clients. We expect that number to reach 50 within the next two years. This will be challenging but exciting. The culture, ways of working and expectations placed upon Petricore are now very different. This meant we had to change the culture of our own business and make sure our workforce was able to meet this new challenge. Each new client has its own specialty and so Petricore must adapt. One of the main obstacles is the language barrier. Many of our personnel have worked with PEMEX most of their lives and do not speak English, whereas many of those representing the major international operators do not speak Spanish. Relying on translators in our highly-technical field can be risky. To solve this, we have brought in people from other parts of the world to work with offices in Houston, and are implementing language classes. We hold meetings to bring everybody together to create a culture change and integrate the new personnel with the old.

Q: What are the differences in expectations between PEMEX and private operators?

A: Petricore has worked with PEMEX for so long that we are seen as experts. As a result, PEMEX respects us a lot; we are seen as the company to turn to. The IOCs, however, do not have the same experience with Petricore. They demand a different standard, which we must meet. To meet these standards, we have improved various aspects of our operation, including moving into a new facility in Villahermosa, which is around five times the size of our previous location. This enabled us to upgrade our systems and focus on processes that deliver what the private sector needs. The move has helped increase capacity in several service lines to be able to handle different clients simultaneously, and we have four viewing rooms where we can have four different clients working with us in-house. Private operators are also keen to know how we conduct analysis and keep our equipment correctly calibrated so that the results we attain can be relied upon. We have also improved our HSE procedures to ensure compliance with international standards. Petricore’s in-house knowledge is immense and includes staff who have worked in the industry for decades. Additionally, our long-term relationship with CNH means we have an understanding of procedures that help our clients carry out simple jobs, like delivering samples to the CNH the way it wants them delivered. This is a small financial item but a big help to clients. We are also making changes to our workforce, focusing on becoming more inclusive and, in the last two years, we have been making an effort to increase the percentage of female staff working in our field service department. This is an area that tends to be predominantly male, although this is now changing, while our laboratories already have a good balance between male and female staff.

Q: How will Petricore meet the growing demand for its services in the next couple of years?

A: Operators that know about our services tend to come to us. The company has the unique characteristic of performing virtually all of our services in-house and in Mexico, whereas our competitors have sales offices in Mexico that generate work for their labs in Houston. Providing services locally with local knowledge delivers quicker turnaround times and increases national content for clients. This all makes us more attractive to international players. In 2019 we will be reaching the level of work activity that we had pre-crisis, in 2013. In 2020, we expect strong growth that will generate our busiest year ever.

Q: How will Petricore’s involvement in CNH Lithoteques help the company’s service provision?

A: We are planning to do multiclient biostratigraphy studies, which require samples from our wells, but the transfer of samples from the PEMEX facilities, which Petricore was helping CNH with, has not yet finished. Petricore takes a region and carries out an overall study on all the wells within that region to create biostratigraphy sequencing correlations that can be sold as a multiclient study. Any client interested can buy the study. Typically, 10-12 clients will purchase the study together, which helps spread the cost. The first study we carried out was in the Perdido Basin. This is a large geographical area but one that does not have as many wells. The second was from the more recent exploration area of Cuencas del Sureste, a shallow-water field in the southeast. We also offer clients the possibility of committing a specific study in a specific area for them alone, as we do for PEMEX. This includes wells that have been drilled recently, whose data are not available through CNH.

Q: How do the services that Petricore provides change during the life cycle of a clients’ development?

A: While we are focused on exploration, we also provide analysis of cores for production wells. This is about designing the production systems to define the most efficient way of producing a reservoir. This can be either when an operator puts new wells online or when old fields are developed again. Analysis can be useful late in the life of a field. Petricore works in alliance with several other companies, including GEO Solutions, GeoMark Research and MetaRock Labs, offering packages to PEMEX or operators of mature fields. Older wells tend to require more complex analysis, like flow studies at reservoir conditions, to uncover the current situation of the field and continue or increase production there. The changes the field will have gone through means the analysis done when the wells were first drilled is probably no longer valid.

Petricore is an international company that provides quality well site and laboratory services to the oil and gas industry. The company has a long history in Mexico, having worked closely with PEMEX and CNH.