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Pemex says it needs tech upgrade to compete

27 Feb 2018, 8.51 pm GMT

Pemex says it needs tech upgrade to compete

Mexico City, 27 February (Argus) — Pemex must adopt new data-driven initiatives if it hopes to compete and form partnerships with international oil firms in a newly liberalized environment, company leaders said today.

Pemex executives in the E&P, downstream and logistics units said at the company's first technology-centered conference that specific initiatives and data projects will be rolled out in the next 90-120 days.

Competition is new for Pemex, as the company led Mexico's monopolistic energy industry for the last seven decades. Bad habits from that era are still there, said Carlos Murrieta, head of the refining and petrochemicals production.

Excessive bureaucracy is limiting the company from adopting new technologies, not only to reach better results, but to compete and even to form alliances with the oil companies arriving to Mexico.

"What good does it do to have the best data collection, the best analytic tools to discover illegal tampering in our pipelines, if in the end we have to go through a mega-bureaucratic process — what we call inside Pemex the trail of the wolf — to ask permission to act quickly?" Murrieta asked.

The problem now is not only inside the company as before, head of exploration and production Javier Hinojosa said.

Pemex has signed six partnerships with companies including BHP Billiton, Chevron, Inpex and DEA Deutsche from Australia, Germany, Japan, and the US since 2016, the first since 1938.

"The simulator we used for our biggest field Cantarell took 72-105 hours," Hinojosa said referring to a computer-generated model of the field. "We have discovered that our partners could have done that in just six hours. We really need to understand all the processes before using this technology. Without processes it would be like trying to go to Jupiter when we are not able to leave our country."

Executives declined to give details of the new tech-driven initiatives, but said they will provide more information when they finish testing.

Most of the new programs will be focused on security issues or faster processes in the company, Pemex's newly named head of its logistics division David Palacios said. Pemex's logistics unit has been stymied by massive fuel theft from its pipelines and even tank trucks, an area of concern for investors.

"We have monitoring systems that measure the pipelines pressure all the time. There is a complete follow-up 24/7. Sometimes a lack of pressure means an illegal tap, sometimes just failure," Palacios said. "What we are working now is how to convert this massive set of data into useful information that lets us act quicker and gives certainty to potential partners."


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