Sense of urgency and security: Pemex’s moment
Pemex has an urgent need to change trends. Pemex needs to focus on the efficient production of today’s barrel, not forgetting tomorrow’s barrel.
Today’s barrel is related to recovering lost production caused by the mechanical decline of fields and fields. With its control and monitoring to avoid breaking its critical flow and cause premature bursts of water or gas. It has to do with the optimization of the production of active wells, with the recovery of the production of inactive wells for a long time; with adequate monitoring of secondary recovery projects, to ensure that the models governing the optimal exploitation of the respective deposits are being met.
How to create that sense of urgency in people, in the organization? How to keep it day to day? That is the responsibility of those in charge of operations, of those who daily monitor contractors and service companies. In crises – and this occurs when a negative trend is established in daily results affecting business growth – the critical parameters of daily activity must be monitored. In the case of today’s barrel, this activity is generated by well interventions, production optimization and other operation and maintenance tasks that give security to operations.
The term security is critical in these situations. Today that Pemex has decided to rely on national operational consortiums for drilling wells and building platforms, this issue is a priority. The technical evaluation of those companies that participate in tenders, and in particular those that win them, require a well-founded written security code. Many times we forget that the experience of drilling companies must be unquestionable, that the experience of their partners or allies as well. Well drilling and repair operations have ample risks and the engineering of the designs of each well is the preventive tool of these risks.
Ensuring the integrity of the well begins in engineering. We must not forget the accident of BP in the Macondo well and the causes that caused a disaster that cost 11 lives, the loss of the well and the drilling rig, the spill of more than 5 million barrels for 87 days, the contamination of thousands of kilometers of coasts and beaches with significant damage to the flora and fauna of the Gulf of Mexico. Let’s not forget that it was human factors that caused this accident. The failure in the cementation of the well, the quality of the cement used, the absence of an adequate design of centralizers of the casing pipes to ensure the correct position of the same, the carelessness in the maintenance of the preventive valves of blowouts, and the more important, the absence of adequate questioning of the pre-accident process, discarding the symptoms that were indicating that something unexpected was happening in the process of cementation of the annular space.
An analysis that was characterized by the intervention of many people and little or no communication between them. Human teams participating in the operation, located on the platform, in the offices of the operating company in Houston, and the service companies responsible for well hydraulics and cementation also in Houston and New Orleans. A process without a systemic vision and lacking proper coordination, a total absence of teamwork.
This experience should not be forgotten by Pemex. This experience has to be a lesson learned and hence the importance of reviewing very well, very rigorously, the technical credentials of the consortiums to whom these well packages have been granted, to prevent any potential accident that can become a ecological disaster Pemex must ensure that well designs are followed and respected.
The sense of urgency should not lose sight of the essential fundamentals of security, because at the end of the road, the impact is total and instead of solutions there are problems of greater dimension, of invaluable impacts in the present. It is of great value to remember a very common, obvious and simple saying: “prevention is better than regret.”
Luis Vielma Lobo, es Director General de CBMX Servicios de Ingeniería Petrolera de Mexico, Presidente de la Asociación Mexicana de Enpresas de Servicio, colaborador de opinión en varios medios especializados en energía y autor de varios libros.