Comprehensive and cutting-edge well servicesJuly 13, 2022
Mako Yáñez, CEO of Núcleo Sepec, talks to The Enegry Year about how the company has secured its key position in Mexico’s upstream scene and how it is deploying know-how and technology to restore and optimise production flows for Pemex E&P. Núcleo Sepec is a supplier of products and services to the hydrocarbons sector.
What philosophy has helped Núcleo Sepec secure its key position in Mexico’s upstream scene?
As a 100% Mexican business group, Núcleo Sepec supplies products and services in various branches of the oil industry. Through a structure offering integrated services, we are able to fully, promptly and continuously meet the requirements and expectations of oil and gas well interventions at a national level – all in a profitable way, and with quality, safety and respect for the environment.
For more than 15 years, we have been increasing our consolidation as the leading Mexican company in the well interventions market. We always focus on the maintenance and restitution of production in oilfields. Each of our interventions are defined by innovation and sustainability in the energy sector, in addition to always seeking to contribute to the objectives and goals of our customers.
Our philosophy is precisely oriented towards comprehensive services. The diversification of our business lines has been key to offering interventions with sequential or parallel services of different specialities to our clients, all through a single supplier. We achieved a clear traceability of operations, as well as the optimisation of our operating times, and thus cost reduction.
During the consolidation of Núcleo Sepec, it has been of vital importance to develop infrastructure with operational bases in key locations in order to provide quick and timely attention to our customers. We have operational bases in the main oil areas of the country: Villahermosa, Poza Rica, Altamira, Reynosa, Agua Dulce and Ciudad del Carmen. We also have two workshops for specialised equipment maintenance and a large stock of spare parts so that we can respond immediately to any contingency of this kind.
We are committed to the highest standards within the industry and to continuous learning. That is why we value the various quality, safety, occupational health and environmental management systems, so we maintain our ISO 9001, ISO 14001, BSI OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 certifications.
Tell us about the services Núcleo Sepec offers to restore and optimise production flows.
Throughout our years of experience in the oil market, we have focused on providing services for the maintenance and reactivation of well production. We have provided equipment, services, tools, state-of-the-art technology, engineering and highly specialised personnel. We currently have 12 business lines, which are: coiled tubing (land and sea), stimulations, N2 injection, swabbing, hot oil, slicklines, fluid loss sealant materials, seawater-based drilling fluids, surface well testing, flush by and real-time well monitoring, as well as pipe and duct sealants.
Each of our business lines has its particular application in the productive stage of an oil well. However, Pemex currently focuses on hydrocarbons production, so services with coiled tubing equipment are in considerable demand, since the results obtained have had a positive impact on production. These services include well stimulations, chemical treatments, production rig cleaning and N2 inductions, among others.
Surface well testing, slickline downhole data collection and real-time surface parameters monitoring are also crucial activities for analysing the current production status of wells, determining or scheduling interventions, and counteracting possible accelerated production decline.
On the other hand, the maintenance of production in low-producing wells demands cost-effective alternatives to maintain the profitability of these fields. That’s why it is common to perform swabbing in wells with low reservoir pressure, or thermal clean-ups in wells with mechanical pumping.
In a nutshell, it is vital that all drilled wells have a certain type of maintenance, depending on their life cycle. This is where each of our services collaborate to ensure and extend the economically viable life of the wells.
What projects are you carrying out for Pemex E&P and how does the equipment you apply help achieve optimal performance?
Approximately 95% of our activity is oriented towards Pemex E&P. We have five contracts under execution in integrated services for well interventions and repairs, and specialised services such as coiled tubing, mechanical inductions, stimulations and well measurement. Also, but to a much lesser extent, we serve private operators.
Considering the current challenges of the oil industry, a large part of Núcleo Sepec’s strategy is related to the large fleet of specialised equipment for well interventions that we have on national territory. That translates into immediate availability for the execution of well services.
We currently have more than 120 specialised pieces of equipment, including 20 coiled tubing units, 20 high-pressure pumping units, 18 units of surface well testing equipment, 21 swabbing units, 11 hot oil units and 15 slickline units, among others. In addition, we have complete autonomy thanks to our own logistics arm with a fleet of units for manoeuvring and transport.
For an efficient development of our services, we rely on specialised software. That includes modelling, planning and execution of operations, as well as real-time visualisation, acquisition, processing and storage of data during interventions. If we add an experienced and continuously trained team, it is an ideal formula for us to work together with our clients to achieve positive results that lead to operational excellence.
To what extent are you implementing state-of-the-art technology and betting on R&D to adapt to different market and operational conditions?
At Núcleo Sepec we are always in constant evolution, operating under the principle of continuous improvement. It is very important for us to invest in state-of-the-art technology that allows us to strengthen our position in the market, as well as to provide our customers with options and solutions for the development of their intervention programmes in order to achieve their production goals.
We are aware that the global decrease in production volumes requires strategies for the management of newly developed wells in more hostile environments, in order to meet the demand for hydrocarbons globally. The impact on the Mexican oil industry translates into the need for new technologies. We continue to analyse these trends so that our equipment always has state-of-the-art components, materials that withstand more hostile conditions and well conditions that exceed the conventional standard.
As an example, we can mention the interventions made to wells in onshore fields under development in Mexico. Their reservoirs are high pressure and high temperature, and exceed the specifications of conventional coiled tubing equipment. We had to upgrade our equipment to withstand well conditions with temperatures up to 200 degrees Celsius and wellhead pressures up to 15,000 psi.
We have been investing to acquire the newest technology for well interventions. Just now, in 2022, we are inaugurating our Specialised Coiled Tubing Training Centre, for accelerated training of our personnel in a realistic and immersive environment. This includes an interactive well intervention simulator, the only one of its kind in Mexico and Latin America. It is designed for critical operations and effective training. It allows operation planning under a wide range of real operational scenarios, with real hours of experience in a safe and controlled environment. This has undoubtedly improved the decision-making skills of our staff, especially in risky or critical situations.
As part of our R&D unit, we have also focused on fluid and chemical technologies. We have developed specialised and unique products for the control of conventional and severe fluid losses during the drilling of land and sea wells. We also developed cutting-edge technologies with respect to the control of leaks in pipelines and procedures for plugging abandoned wells, all of them with patents and trademark registration with the IMPI [Mexican Institute of Industrial Property].
To complement these products, a specialised laboratory for chemicals and stimulations was developed where we carry out different services and analyses. We design acid systems, solvents, inhibiting potholes, neutralisers, water control and flow improvers. We also provide the corresponding quality control, physical analysis of crude samples, compatibility of treatment fluids and stability of acid and solvent systems. Lastly, we also carry out analysis to determine API gravity, as well as asphaltenes and paraffins percentage, among other services.
What kind of footprint have you established in the Middle East?
In our vision, bringing the name of Mexico to international arenas was always present. The opportunity arose in 2017 to establish a strategic commercial and business alliance with a Kuwaiti company called Fawares Petroleum Services, with the aim of entering the Middle East oil market.
Thanks to the experience we accumulated over the years in coiled tubing services, in March 2019 we were able to prequalify as a potential provider of these services for the country’s NOC, Kuwait Oil Company. This allowed us to participate in a tender for the provision of coiled tubing and associated services in Kuwait.
After a thorough technical evaluation and several rounds of price negotiations, in March 2020 we were awarded the contract with a validity of five years. It was a process full of challenges, but today it is a source of great satisfaction to us as a Mexican company.
Read our latest insights on:
Sonora: Mexico’s solar hubARTICLE
More content from Mexico
Trinidad’s energy opportunitiesINTERVIEW
Latest news and features
Nigeria as a major maritime hubINTERVIEW
Steps to improve the maritime sectorINTERVIEW