FASTER EXECUTION

Mexico 2019 | ENERGY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Giacomo Bonfanti, Commercial Director of GDI, on Mexico as an energy hub, recent reforms, and punctuality.

What steps does Mexico need to take to become an energy hub for Europe and Latin America?

Mexico has the privilege of being located between two oceans. We share a gas reservoir with the US, and with geopolitics changing the world, our access to the sea offers us the opportunity to begin exporting hydrocarbons to all of it. However, this is theoretical at the moment; in order to fulfill its potential, the country needs to realize that extracting hydrocarbons is a technical challenge, not just a political one. Countries such as Venezuela have shown that simply being willing to do something is not enough to actually get it done. One of the benefits of the Energy Reform is the opportunity to learn from private companies that have been successful across the globe. Having their knowledge in Mexico is an important advantage. New reforms have allowed us to attract new investment, extract hydrocarbons, and export. Everyone would like to start from the beginning; however, time has passed, and we need to catch up faster, making as few mistakes as possible.

What role does GDI play in increasing efficiency?

Over the past 10 years, we have learned how to address the complexity of the Mexican market and realize that each region and state differs wildly from the rest. There are different ecosystems from Oaxaca to Sonora and Yucatán to Baja California, not just in terms of the environment, but also as communities. The country has grown and cannot only have two or three days of hydrocarbon storage; it now needs at least 15. Moreover, hydrocarbon logistics are not well defined in the country. My guess is that Mexico will go through what the US did over 70 years ago: we will start developing new storage tank facilities and, after that, new infrastructure projects for the pipeline system, which is one of our specialties.

What are some of the actions GDI is taking in hydrocarbons energy storage?

The country has an incredible amount of potential to expand its pipeline network from 15,000km to 30,000km. This is due to the liberalization of the price of gasoline and the huge costs the country had to absorb because of it. With new infrastructure and the added oil inventories, people will have to be more dynamic, thinking about prices more than a month in advance, and becoming more connected with the global economy. When one is not subsidized, they have to be proactive. For long-term projects of 10-15 years, the country needs to focus on creating a great and solid rule of law that allows investors to understand what lies ahead.

Considering that for 70 years PEMEX was the country's only oil client, what have been the challenges of transitioning to a multi-company system?

The challenge is to educate our customers on what Mexico is truly like. Many new reforms were enacted in the past six years, and many in Mexico do not exactly know what they mean for the country. We need to learn fast and execute even faster. It requires a great deal of training and adapting to what is needed at the moment. The country also has to incorporate innovation quickly and adopt social media and new communication processes. We have to teach the community how to benefit from the reforms, and in order to do that, we need to adapt to the needs of foreign clients as well as changing internal needs.

What differentiates GDI from newer or foreign companies entering the market?

One differentiator is that we are a Mexican company. We are a contractor focused on oil and gas and truly understand the market. We have acquired a great amount of experience in developing oil and gas infrastructure for private companies over the past seven years, which has given us extensive insight. Being a transparent contractor, adding value to the community, and getting projects done on time is what we have been working toward every day. Our clients will always find us working hard to make things happen.