Peter Armstrong
Vice-President of Business Development
HB Rentals
/
View from the Top

Well-Crafted Living Spaces for All Eventualities

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 13:04

Q: What are the most important elements for ensuring the success of accommodation projects in oilfields, platforms, and vessels?

A: Project management is an all-important skill. From a general perspective, few people fully comprehend how complex it is to create a successful living space environment within oil and gas projects. Companies often focus on the modules, since they are the end product. However, they do not see the behind-the-scenes planning, engineering, logistics, and installation work that all go into making sure that a temporary living complex brings true value to a project. This is why project management is so important. Everything has to be very tightly coordinated to make sure that all the modules come together within the delivery timeframe. If we are designing accommodations for a vessel, we need to have all the modules delivered to the site, usually a port, while the utility services equipment, stairs, platforms, and other elements must also be ready. When this is done, we have a very tight timeframe to install everything on the vessel before going through the hook- up and commissioning (HUC) process so it can leave port.

When shipping to a platform, tight coordination must again be followed to get all the equipment on a vessel to be transported to the platform. For the offshore market, we must also take into consideration the operating essentials, such as water, sewage, electricity, lighting, and communication systems. Electricity is sometimes already provided on platforms or vessels but HB Rentals can install power generators, satellite communication, light towers, water tanks, and sewage systems for a comprehensive solution. These basic utilities and operating essentials offer a complete end-to-end package when installing modules. A customer can rely on us as the single supplier for all of their requirements, from accommodation to all of the elements necessary to live and work at an onshore or offshore site.

In addition to helping sustain drilling sites, we have the necessary transportation assets and personnel to facilitate moving the accommodation units and related equipment from site to site. Drilling operations are becoming increasingly efficient in the US, which means that moves are more frequent. Consequently, an accommodation company like HB Rentals must have the fleet of assets necessary to support multiple customers within a particular oil basin who frequently move their operations, sometimes at a moment’s notice. The service part of the business from water delivery to site mobilizations requires a large and complex support operation with the necessary infrastructure.

Q: What advantages do oil companies obtain from renting over buying the facilities?

A: Many companies prefer to rent accommodation units due to the total cost of ownership. They also prefer not to have such assets on their balance sheets due to the wide swings in market activity. Onshore, it makes more economic sense since every site requires a lot of support for all the utilities that keep a drilling site operating, including water, power, sewage, and lighting. If any one of these services is compromised, a site could be forced to temporarily cease operations. For offshore activities, this need varies as many vessels and platforms already provide for these basic services. The rental business thrives as much as it does in the US onshore market since there is no other alternative.

Q: To what extent do workers’ accommodation conditions in Mexico differ from the standards in other countries?

A: For the Mexican offshore market, worker conditions are similar to other markets we operate in. This is because many clients from around the world have similar standards for quality and safety. As the market opens up, we expect a further strengthening of these standards as more international companies enter the market. For the onshore market, we are just beginning to study the specific requirements for PEMEX and for the service companies supporting its drilling operations. All our clients, whether working onshore or offshore, are focused on total cost of ownership and efficiency of operations. This is why the end- to-end package is so important to the Mexican market as well as internationally.

We also know that shale resources might not be developed just yet, but we are expecting significant opportunities as PEMEX and other companies begin drilling in these basins. This might take two to four years but we intend to be prepared for the opportunity when it comes.