A Wealth of Knowledge Adds Value to Mature Oil FieldsBy Conal Quinn | Wed, 08/03/2022 - 16:16
Q: How was Sinopec Mexico able to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, successfully completing 3D seismic studies in Ébano?
A: Sinopec Group works across the entire oil and gas value chain, from upstream to downstream. In 2006, we registered the company in Mexico City and from 2007 until today we have been operating several projects. From 2013 to 2018, the company signed a contract to work with PEMEX. After 2018, we signed a long-term Exploration and Extraction (CEE) contract and started working on 3D seismic for 100km² of oil fields. This seismic data is crucial to the development and exploration of fields such as Ébano. The Ébano oil field, for example, is over 120 years old but the available seismic information is very limited.
In 2020, the company started another 3D seismic data project. At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic was a serious issue and in order to keep operating, we used new technology and equipment that required fewer people to operate. Sinopec reduced its workforce by around 30 to 40 percent compared to 2013 thanks to this new equipment. At Ébano, Sinopec separated workers into several groups, reducing contact to avoid infections. In the meantime, all the people in charge of processing the data stayed in China and provided help through the internet. The study’s results enabled PEMEX to choose new locations for wells. Moreover, the 3D seismic information allowed us to see the structure and fractions of the oil fields very clearly. After these studies, oil production at of the wells at Ébano area increased. This project has been very successful.
Q: How has your relationship grown with Diavaz since the founding of DS Servicios Petroleros in 2006?
A: Sinopec came to Mexico to work on a petroleum project in cooperation with Diavaz. During the 16 years that we have been cooperating, we have built a great relationship. Diavaz is one of the best partners a company could have in Mexico. They have the know-how regarding the wheeling and dealing, as well as the laws of the country. Sinopec, for its part, has access to some of the world’s most advanced technology.
Q: What other technologies, research and development is the company introducing to the Mexican market?
A: The company prides itself on its state-of-the-art technologies, research and development. Sinopec is a large multinational with many business areas. We also manufacture all many tools and equipment for oilfield development. In Mexico, we work with a smaller part of this portfolio. Apart from the 3D seismic data solutions, we also offer drilling, workover, directional drilling, drill bits, mud logging and cementing.
Q: Sinopec has ample experience with oilfield development in China. What are the opportunities for this segment in Mexico?
A: Sinopec has a great deal of international experience and a massive research center. We are all connected through the internet, so we can provide each other with support and share information. If the company wins more projects with PEMEX for oilfield development, service projects or surrounding refineries, there will be the opportunity to bring new ideas and new technologies to the Mexican market. For example, from 2008 until today, Sinopec has sent more than 30 experts to the country, some of them from institutions like the Shengli Exploration & Development Research Institute, Sinopec’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Research Institute. Sinopec provides quality technical assessments in the downstream environment, too.
Q: What measures has Sinopec taken to improve its ESG commitment in Mexico?
A: For Sinopec, the protection of the environment and sustainability has always been a key priority for its work in Mexico and elsewhere. During its 14 years working at the Ébano oil field, it has done many tests, ensuring it remains a sustainable project. The company has built infrastructure for local communities, including reconditioning of schools, water supply systems and hospitals. Now, in the Huelitli 3D project we are keeping in touch with the locals on a weekly basis to understand what they need or think is important for the public good in the area. Sinopec built a team to investigate the area, with the aim to start a new sustainability program and create a proposal, which we will then implement with PEMEX and the local community.
Q: What short-term goals do you hope to achieve in Mexico?
A: Despite the changing environment, with skyrocketing oil prices, Sinopec’s goals remain the same: to manufacture solutions and support field development in Mexico. Furthermore, we have a great deal of experience with technology for IOR and EOR. In China, our oil fields have between 30 and 45 percent oil recovery rates, which is very high. By contrast, the Ébano field only has a 7.5 percent recovery rate. Sinopec aims to be a big help in increasing that rate.
Moreover, there many mature fields in the country that require support. Whatever PEMEX needs, Sinopec has on hand and can provide. We will continue to focus on the development of mature fields in the short and long term. In addition, the company is interested in exploring other areas like petrochemical and refineries but that will depend on PEMEX’s plans.
Sinopec is a Chinese state-owned company, the world's largest oil refining, gas and petrochemical conglomerate, listed on the stock Hong Kong, New York, London and Shanghai stock exchanges, whose Mexican subsidiary avails of the vast resources and experience of its parent company to provide services and manage onshore projects.