THE PROVIDERS

Colombia 2018 | ENERGY & MINING | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Iván Quintero & Alejandro Quintero, President and General Manager of Oil Business Services (OBS), on strong community relationships, alternate energy spectrum in Colombia, and regional expansion.

Iván  Quintero Alejandro Quintero

What are the main achievements and milestones of OBS?

IVÁN QUINTERO OBS is a family-run business. The company was founded in 2007 and in 2012, we were recognized as the second fastest-growing company in Colombia. We have gone from being a small company to a large provider in the services sector. We had a chance to work with Pacific Rubiales on specific projects, such as its largest project at the moment—an injection path. That gave us the opportunity to become the company with the most experience in this field in Colombia; we inject nearly 1 million barrels of water per day.

Why is OBS the company of choice for oil and gas services in Colombia?

IQ When we first approached large companies, we became involved in operational maintenance and the renting of technology for their needs. In the beginning, we had a solid connection with certain providers who provided great prices and excellent delivery times. That helped us to get where we are today: we were fast and cost effective. We also have great experience in managing the communities where we operate. For example, the area we were working in Castilla was a difficult place to work due to the syndicates that operate there; however, we were able to build a strong relationship with both the community and syndicates.

ALEJANDRO QUINTERO One of the main reasons is that OBS does not have a high level of bureaucracy; even if there is a large project, the management is always in charge. For example, when there are people who lead a project on the ground, upper management is aware of updates at all times. Moreover, we maintain direct communication lines with customers and project leaders. Another important factor that puts OBS on top of the list is that it completes all undertaken projects. Our clients do not have to face any delays or concerns regarding a project that is abandoned midway. Even if a project puts the company at a loss, we remain committed to finishing it.

What is the progress on your operations abroad?

IQ Currently, we have a project in Peru at the Talara Refinery. At the same time, we are bidding and making offers on other projects in Peru that are interesting to us. We also have a presence in Bolivia, where we are working to get more involved in water treatment projects. In Panama, infrastructure is a promising area. We have a branch in Mexico as well and although we have not formally entered operations, it could be an excellent opportunity for us as we do not produce oil; we contract services to people who own the oil.

Are you seeking international or local partnerships in Colombia that could make your business more robust?

AQ We especially need partners in terms of technology. In terms of offshore, it is difficult for Colombian companies. We would like to have more large companies working here for us to learn from. We are working to develop other businesses, such as hydroelectric power in Antioquia. We already own a hydroelectric plant called Virginias in Antioquia, and we have the license that has allowed us to construct it. According to the government, we have reserves for five years of production, and we are seeking alternative energy sources as potential business lines. We also have an agreement with an Italian company for water treatment plants and seek to attract partnerships in other industries.

What are your goals and priorities for 2018 and beyond?

IQ Our main goal is to start working in other sectors. Our other goal is to enter the Mexican market in full. It is possible that in 2019 we could enter the food production business. We see food production to emerge as a strong industry in the future, especially after the decline in the oil industry.

What are the benefits of doing business in Colombia?

IQ The opportunities are the ease of building relationships with people. Company owners are open to forming new business partnerships and there are many opportunities here. However, Colombia is a developing country and we need a great deal of work. There are no huge companies here yet and those who come will find many opportunities because the market offers possibilities that Colombian companies do not have the capacity to tackle.