Mexican Petroleum Congress Cancun 2013: Innovation, creation and technology
The Mexican Petroleum Congress, which is organized in conjunction with other associations related to the earth sciences (the Mexican Association of Petroleum Geologists or AMGP, the Mexican Association of Production Geophysicists or AMGE, the Mexican Association of Petroleum Engineers or AIPM and the Mexican Chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers or SPE), was led this year by the CIPM (Mexican College of Petroleum Engineers).
To the delight of golf enthusiasts, Cancún was chosen to host the 2013 edition from 5th to 8th June, during which time over 7,000 professionals and more than 200 national and international companies related to the oil and gas industry, national and international universities and research centers had the opportunity to interact in the Lakám Center, on the Federal Cancún-Playa del Carmen highway, which, incidentally, we have been told by a colleague is a pleasant drive.
3 plenary sessions and 3 luncheon conferences were given over the 3 days by speakers with influence in Mexico’s energy policy and in leading international petroleum companies and institutions. Among those who participated were Shell CEO Marvin E. Odum and Hydrocarbon Undersecretary for the Mexican Energy Ministry Enrique Ochoa Reza, who called for a change of mentality in order to avoid current pitfalls and achieve the objectives set forth by President Enrique Peña Nieto in his Plan Nacional de Desarrollo (national plan for development). These sessions and conferences were complemented by over 150 specialized technical seminars and the industrial exhibit featuring the technology and service companies, national and international universities, and research centers in a 14,000m2 area, as well as 2 external areas to showcase industrial equipment and heavy machinery.
2 Days of Pre-Congress
One of the common goals of the participating associations was to work with training and development. As such, the event included 10 pre-congress courses covering current topics in the international petroleum industry, given by world class presenters and researchers. Some of the themes covered included treatment of water, seismic acquisition and deposit simulations.
The participants were lectured on salt tectonics, petrophysics in carbonate reservoirs, tools and techniques for geochemistry and chemometrics: from the identification of oil recovery systems to monitoring the recovery and establishing quality controls in refining processes, innovative approaches in drilling, as well as seismic geomorphology and geological stratigraphy.
The SPWLA (Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts) was in charge of 2 courses, one focused on analyses through data recorded from wells to elaborate research on shale gas and shale oil, delivered by Baker Hughes specialists; and the other centered on the assessment of well segmentation, with Schlumberger’s participation. Bernardo Martell Andrade, professor at UNAM of geophysics and subsoil geology and consultant for CFE, SGM (Mexican Geological Service), and Pemex, explained that these courses provided details on the use of geomechanics and geophysical logs to assess the potential of shale gas and shale oil, as well as observing the quality of production and cementing logs. The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) was also present at the pre congress to give courses on science and technologies for water treatment: reservoir simulation for pragmatic decision making and oil testing, benefits and limitations.
A welcome reception was held in the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort on the eve of the opening. Amongst other key figures, the Director of Pemex Exploration and Production and President of the Mexican Petroleum Congress Carlos Morales Gil, CEO of Pemex Emilio Lozoya, and Executive Chairman of the Mexican Petroleum Congress and current President of the Mexican College of Petroleum Engineers José Serrano Lozano, addressed a crowd of over 3,200 attendees, most of whom were suitably dressed for the damp climate in guayaberas and cocktail dresses. The sea of mostly white linen was dotted with dark suits sported by suspiciously foreign looking individuals, a reflection of the fact that this annual event is steadily taking on an important role on an international level.
In what appeared to be a carefully orchestrated set of speeches, all three figures made reference to innovation, creation and technology as the key to ensuring that the industry in Mexico can make the step to the next level and keeps its place among the top ten oil producing nations globally.
José Serrano outlined the objective of the congress as the opportunity to share experiences and present technological advances and models of processes to improve or optimize, for example, the exploration success rate, field development, production, reserves incorporation, the transport of hydrocarbons, and so on. He went on to explain that this setting would lead to the discussion of new opportunities and challenges for mature fields and unconventional resources, deepwater development, and secondary and enhanced oil recovery processes and technologies, without ignoring topics critical to the industry such as maintenance, HSE and general management issues. He was keen to underline that the focus would be on sustainability in order to ensure ample hydrocarbon resources for generations to come.
Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya Austin for his part touched upon the business plan of Pemex to increase production levels from the current levels of 2.5 million b/d to 3 million by the end of the current administration. Both pointed out the fact that technological innovation was the future of the national oil and gas industry and of Pemex.
Carlos Morales Gil explained that Mexico was going through a difficult stage since the oil fields were now very complex, such as deepwater, and unconventional. He referred to the large task force in Pemex dedicated to investigating and developing alternative energies in order to not have to rely on fossil fuels. For this very reason Pemex needs to keep innovating, which in turn could lead to increase profitability in the oil and gas industry. He went on to say that it was in the national interest to increase competitiveness and to seek to generate cleaner energy at competitive prices in order to consolidate the position of Mexico on the world stage as a main oil player. Carlos Morales Gil concluded his speech by iterating that innovation in technology was fundamental in achieving higher productivity.
On the second day of the event, Shell CEO Marvin E. Odum expressed his views in his keynote speech on the way in which the businesses are moving in the sector, the outlook for the Latin American and Mexican markets, and the most advanced technology deployed by Shell in its daily activities. Using the latest data from the OECD, Mr. Odum predicted great development in the Mexican industry in years to come and an increase in local content within its operations. Bearing this in mind, Shell would increase its participation in oil and gas operations in the country in the near future both with Pemex and in the private sector.
Odum stated that Mexico was earmarked as the country of the era according to leading experts, however, return on investment would be limited if capital investment was not captured to ensure resources of tough access were exploitable.
On a technical level, the focus at the congress was on seismic acquisition to ensure more accurate modeling and to better exploit the resources that are each time located in more extreme environments. Some of the technologies featured in this year’s congress included mechanisms to modify rock permeability to maximize hydrocarbon extraction through fracking, a natural property that until recently was not considered modifiable. Participants were able to witness the great technological advances in pumps to extract oil from the reservoirs, as well as subsea multiphase pumps, simulators for reservoir characteristics and seismic technologies. The latter provide clearer imaging of the seabed to better predict the reservoirs’ geological characteristics.
Global CEO of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and Vice President of Chevron Ganesh Thakur agreed that the opportunities for development in the oil industry in Mexico were huge. He was impressed by the size of the presence of his society in the country and by how proactive the Mexican arm was on a global level. He singled out the UNAM as having a notable flow of activity in the sector.
Political scientist Federico Reyes Heroles, who was invited to participate in a plenary session, stated that in the near future it was essential that Mexico become the first commercial partner of the US and displace China by taking advantage of the fact that Chinese salaries were higher than in Mexico. He also pointed out that the key to the growth of the country was ensuring that multifactorial productivity was increased.
As the CEO of Shell pointed out, one thing that we can be sure about is that global population will continue to grow at a constantly accelerating rate until 2050. This means demands for natural resources, including energy, will only increase. Whether Mexico can deliver in terms of innovation, creation and technology will determine success or failure. Mexico is uniquely positioned; it is among the 10 main producers of oil and is a strategic partner for many nations, including Canada and the US. Odum highlighted the fact that shale gas and oil represent phenomenal potential for Mexico that should be tapped into sensibly to avoid private investment capital ending up being funneled into other countries. The way to capture the investment, he said, is through clear and open regulation. To illustrate this he stated that Pemex required great support to efficiently exploit its resources: to leverage the potential of deepwater it would need to multiply its resources tenfold.
In short, as the oil and gas sector relies more heavily on technological innovation, the need for exchange of knowledge and expertise will increase. This can only be achieved through international cooperation both in the public and private sector. The sensible approach for Mexico would be to open up to private and foreign investment. This is something that all participants know only too well; all eyes are set on the highly anticipated energy reforms.
Where to Next Year?
The 2014 edition of the Mexican Petroleum Congress will take place in Acapulco (don’t forget to bring your golf clubs) and will be led by the Asociación Mexicana de Geólogos Petroleros (Mexican Association of Petroleum Geologists), presided by Juan Antonio Cuevas Leree.
AMGP is a non-profit, professional organization of geoscientists founded in 1949 with over 600 members worldwide. Its objectives are to foster new technologies, promote improvements, support and cultivate the spirit of scientific research and technological development. The organization offers the community a variety of products and services to improve professional education and performance.
Mexico Oil & Gas Review will continue to be present in the top events of the industry, providing participants with a detailed overview of the recent developments and high-end technologies that could forge the future of the country.