The success of activities inside the oil and gas industry hinges on overcoming various challenges, including logistics. In this sense, one of the most difficult tasks corresponds to accommodating staff in different, often remote and difficult places. This is clearly evidenced in the offshore oil platforms, with a plethora of technological challenges presented in building habitable accommodation in the middle of the sea. Onshore, there is more room for innovative and creative solutions for companies working in this sector, with the option to choose between constructing permanent or semi-permanent housing, and renting modular or traditional spaces.
Many oil and gas companies tend to use hotels as accommodation for workers, which can be problematic in terms of coordination and logistics. Nowadays, companies providing modular, temporary spaces are gaining traction in the market due to their offering of easy-to-install, cost-effective, and more environmentally-friendly constructions. Previously, modular solutions consisted mainly of trailers but now, newer and more efficient solutions are emerging onto the market. Williams Scotsman is one of the major and most innovative providers of modular spaces, with AsFlexTM and Redi-PlexTM the most popular products chosen by the oil and gas industry.
Redi-PlexTM is a modular building on wheels, made of steel and wood and measures 12ft by 60ft. The container can be laid out traditionally, or the modules can be optionally adapted to different configurations. AsFlexTM measures 8ft by 20ft and is composed of a steel structure with panels that are designed with the ability to slide in and out of the frames. The general preference among the oil and gas industry is to install AsFlexTM during the initial exploration stage of the project and subsequently switch to Redi-PlexTM.
Another advantage of solutions like AsFlexTM is that it allows for the construction of vertical structures, up to three floors high, and offers all the necessary services, with the facility of disassembling the structure within 48 hours. This is particularly interesting as modular vertical construction is becoming a trend in the oil and gas industry, especially when working in remote areas with small teams. This unique combination of characteristics allowed AsFlexTM to provide housing for more than 2,000 workers in an oil and gas project in the north of Mexico, including areas that were hard to reach with traditional solutions. The makeshift housing development consisted of offices, cafeterias and dormitories, inclusive of furniture and facilities, and the flexibility of the modules allowed expansion of the camp from five locations to seven by the end of the project.
As the oil and gas industry is expected to grow in the near future, especially in the midstream sector, an increasing demand for modular space solutions is expected. It has been predicted that the demand in Mexico for these products will continue to increase until capacity reaches that observed in countries with similar demographics and profiles. Flexible, cost-effective, and well-designed products like AsFlexTM or Redi-PlexTM are certainly going to play an important role in the future of oil and gas. Moreover, the integrated services that include furniture and logistics management, such as that offered by Williams Scotsman, are likely to continue gaining momentum in the near future.