What have been some of the main achievements of 2019-2020 for DG in Mexico?
We came into this project with a short period of time to complete it, so our priority at the beginning was this project. Over 2019, we have been able to expand our presence in the country and understand better its rules, regulations, banking system, and the labor system. Our approach in key markets is not to make a project then leave but rather to establish our presence for a long time. We had the opportunity to develop our business with new clients and we strongly believe in training people in the country in line with our goal to establish our presence here.
What is the difference between working in the Gulf of Mexico compared to other projects you have worked in?
Our experience in Mexico has been mostly with clients that are major international oil companies, meaning that processes and procedures stay the same. We do not see any particular problem from a technical point of view, and compared to other countries, it has been easier because of the open mentality and the fact that it is not an emerging market.
How is the company adapting to the current low oil price situation?
Right now is difficult not only for the price but also for the future of oil. Regarding the price, the market has changed and oil companies have different mentalities from 10-15 years ago. They are now looking for a tighter market before they start producing oil and gas as quickly as possible to save money. In order to face this situation, the solution for us is to integrate our services and be flexible; in other words, be a multinational but with the flexibility of a medium-sized company. In DG, we decided to have partnerships not only a logistics international group but also with an early production group and a construction group in order to integrate competencies and thus be faster in decisions and cheaper in price. We are supporting one of our main contractors with our early production equipment as they were not ready to produce because of delays. With our technology and know-how, we set up equipment that are able to produce even if the plant is not ready, meaning the client will recover investment from the production phrase, even if they were not ready to produce.
Is the low-cost market an opportunity to show how to increase profits at lower costs?
Constantly changing situations call for different solutions at different times. Good companies are the ones able to better understand the needs of the market. With the issue of price and the changing attitude of oil companies, the integration of competences is the key aspect. The oil industry also faces the problem of the environment, with companies moving more toward alternative energies such as solar, wind, and nuclear. That is why DG is trying to invest in new technology and partnering with universities and other players in the market to move the oil business to greener ways. We started investing in other energies in 2018 with the help of three universities. We also are talking with a start-up incubator to study new processes and products.
How would you compare the legal framework that Mexico around the energy sector compared to other markets?
We have experienced much more difficult markets in North Africa and Central Asia, especially Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Thanks to these experiences, we found Mexico's market much easier than other countries. Mexico is open to receiving external know-how, and it has a great geographical advantage as it is close to the US. So, from a logistics point of view, it is easy to work here. There are some harder aspects, such as the climate, but what Mexico offers in terms of industry and internal production helps us do our job better. Its steel market is solid so it is easy to buy steel. With a logistics provider as a project partner, we have been able to make decisions faster. The objective is to finish the project as soon as possible and do everything possible to achieve this. The Gulf of Mexico's big opportunity is the commissioning activity to remove all old platforms in the Gulf. We want to find the appropriate answer for the client.
What are your main priorities in Mexico for the rest of 2020?
We want to expand our presence in the market. Our target is to become the leader in the market for oil companies. Our team has done a great job by delivering the project before the target date. We entered the market with a contract with Italian company ENI, and our target now is to develop our activities and services toward other players in the market. We have now been in Mexico for two years and are proud to have worked already with the Mexican market's two most important oil companies. We are supporting our clients in many services, which signals that we are doing a great job and being responsible with our clients. In general, our first target (which we have already achieved) has been to build a new structure using something that already existed through integration and flexibility. The next step is figuring out what to invest in innovation to propose new solutions, processes, and products to the market in order to make a real difference.