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Colombia 2020 | ENERGY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Joe Hickey, CEO of Kodiak, on the importance of the Colombian market, geographical challenges, and offshore exploration.

How does Kodiak's 23 years of experience translate into its added value offering to companies? How important is the Colombian market for your portfolio?

For us, diversity in services and working with different cultures in many countries allows us to fit in with the culture. We train our people in a more effective way to complement our personalized services. We can respond to clients much faster than larger service companies. We make decisions quickly and do not have that massive bureaucracy. Our people come from the field, so they have the technical experience therefore anyone at any level can answer questions directly to get things moving. This is important in Colombia, which is a focal point for us. The market has turned around, and the potential is enticing. Colombia is number one on our radar for the next two to three years. Other countries are of interest, but it is too soon. We were present at the 2019 Oil and Gas Congress in Colombia, which seemed significantly more positive than previous ones. There was much more optimism. I found it interesting that key people from oil companies actually went out of their way to make inquiries into our services and proposition; the operators are really opening their doors more for other opportunities or ways to do business. There is real opportunity for growth with these companies.

What is your client portfolio like in Colombia, and how do you plan to reach new customers?

We work for pretty much everyone, and our portfolio is fairly decent. We have struggled to get in with Ecopetrol due to timing of contracts. In 2020, more contracts are coming up, and we will participate in those bid rounds. We will continue to focus on specialty services and optimization of procedures. Many times, in Colombia, things have been done the same way for a long period of time. There are new procedures now that can minimize costs and optimize the turnaround times on wells. That will increase profits and get wells back online faster. We also like to train local qualified people. When these projects are started, experts need to be brought in to oversee the processes. At some point, we will have a few expatriates overseeing operations, with everyone else being local.

What key aspects allow you to offer solutions that optimize the success of exploration, completion, and production of oil and gas wells?

Experience is certainly one, but certain specialty services are also important. We can plug abandonments without pulling tubing, for example. There are different ways in which we can provide solutions that are much more cost effective. We like to keep a good inventory of tools that people normally do not have locally and want to prevent downtime at the rigs. We have a special license for non-explosive cutting tools for pipe and do not need to wait for military approval to move explosives. We can move in five minutes!

How easy has it been to work with the large players of Colombia, considering the complex geography?

You need to approach every area a little differently. We have worked in every corner of Colombia in the last seven years. We have achieved some good experience. We have our operating bases in Aguachica, Villagarzón, Cota, and are adding another one in Yopal. We have worked on wells in all these areas, and each has been completely different. Different people are needed on each site. Moving equipment can be difficult at times, that is one of the reasons we do the satellite bases. We want to service clients and have decent response times. Colombia is a small country but traveling within the country takes a long time. That is why equipment needs to be strategically placed in the right areas to avoid downtime. It also helps with security and people. The potential within the regions depends on the clients and their focuses. We are fortunate to have enough clients that we can stay busy in most areas. Another advantage that we have is the presence of Canadian and US companies here. They trust our experience, and we speak the same language. We have a slight advantage with the Canadian oil companies for that reason. If they have a problem in a well, generally they only call us.

There are many projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and the Colombian Caribbean with offshore exploration. How can that positively impact operations?

We pretty much focus on land other than our fluids management division. That side already looked after the fluids engineering, solids control and waste management on the Anadarko offshore in Colombia a few years ago and we plan to get back out there. Generally, it takes 18-24 months to bring those wells online. The long-term issue could be if they had huge success, and there was a great deal of oil. We all know what that does, below USD50, Colombia is not the greatest place, which is true of most places. Ideally, USD70 oil is the best for everyone; let us hope that we get there.