Jorge González
Director General
ALS Wellvention

Well Maintenance to Cut Costs

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 12:05

More than 50% of the wells drilled in Mexico have some type of mechanical problem, which greatly impacts the day-to-day production of oil or crude. Since the drilling and exploration services are the most sought after services in the industry. According to Jorge González, Director General of ALS Wellvention, while much of the industry is focusing on drilling for oil, PEMEX is beginning to place importance on repairs and maintenance, with the purchase of a new coiled tubing unit due to the fact that its previous equipment was over 20 years old. Many companies like Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Weatherford have coiled tubing services, and ALS decided to bring the tools to participate in this market and focus on the repair of wells.

“Once a company has finished drilling a well and prepares it for production, it will need maintenance within a year and it is easier to remove a coiled tube than a drill,” González asserts. Contrary to common misconceptions, González argues that the industry still has money, but players have begun to invest it differently. “Cash flows are prolonged, and investors have no idea how any of these tools work, focusing instead on ROI, so oil and gas companies now have to carefully analyze how and where they will invest capital,” he declares. “In Mexico, prices are highly biased, but ALS Wellvention has decided to offer an average, because our services, tools, and workforce are of high quality and we are a global company.” González claims companies with the most economical prices do not offer the full range of services or an added value, while companies with the highest prices do not want to invest. Customers are looking for more than just a quality product, but they want superior customer service and support in the event of a problem or mechanical failure within the well.

For González, the events in Mexico in 2015 were unprecedented, and although there have been lows, nothing has come close to the current landscape. A US$12 million market share has been reduced by 70%, and many companies have been forced to halt operations, even those with many years in the market. The operations PEMEX is currently demanding the most are well cleanings, and opening and closing of the lining, but most of the focus is on recovering production, even though PEMEX’s goal for daily barrel production has been reduced. Wellvention’s most popular tools are shifting tools, technology that involves cleaning with special motors. “Two years ago, there were bigger budgets and PEMEX was focused on maintenance, therefore scrappers and overshots were commonly used,” González admits. “Now, PEMEX is targeting the repair of wells to increase the production levels, and as a result, the most demanded tools right now are wellhammers, downhole motors, and shifting tools.”

Although the company is broadly known in the south of the country, the first step for Wellvention in 2016 is to create a greater presence and visibility in the market. Once PEMEX is aware of its services and personnel, the next step will be to increase the company’s portfolio with two processes called Coring and Omega. These present a significant opportunity that could be of considerable importance to the industry, as it represents a previously overlooked market to develop and exploit. Part of the strategy is bringing these two divisions to Mexico, supported by other areas like drilling. “A few months ago, we proposed the idea of Omega to IMP, which was extremely interested in the idea of a joint development of certain technologies,” González reveals. “This is also an attractive situation for Omega, because Mexico is a country with highly experienced engineers who have developed prototypes for innovative tools that will transform the industry.”