Interview with Trelleborg Offshore's Oil & Gas Business Group Director Sebastian Araujo, discussing the Oil & Gas market in Mexico
Q: How has Trelleborg sought to consolidate its presence in Mexico since its recent arrival?
A: Although Trelleborg has been working in Mexico for many years, Trelleborg’s offshore operation has recently focused more heavily on offshore oil and gas in the country. We have had a great deal of success in Mexico due to our perfect fit with the demands in the Mexican market, and the advantages and qualities of our polymer products, which we manufacture in Norway. The products are primarily for active and passive fire protection of oil and gas assets, and we have won several contracts on Mexican platforms, onshore terminals and refineries. We are currently working on a major contract to provide these integral protection solutions to a key Mexican operator.
We have a local office in Mexico and have hired several people within our Norway facility with Spanish as either a first or second language, to support our continued success within the region.
Our target markets in Mexico are the offshore platforms, onshore terminals and refineries, particularly topsides. However, we have products in many different market areas, including subsea work and surveying.
Q: What cost benefits does Trelleborg provide to oil and gas companies?
A: All the solutions offered are engineered directly to meet our client’s needs. These operate in challenging and difficult environments so, clients look to us for answers. Our products provide the necessary solutions.
One example is Elastopipe™, the first corrosion-free piping system that is resistant to explosions and impacts. Usually, piping systems on platforms and refineries require continuous maintenance. Elastopipe™ lets us guarantee clients that their piping system will function safely throughout the lifetime of installation. The properties of Elastopipe™ allow for less engineering, quicker installation and less weight, meaning the cost benefits are evident already at the point where the system has been installed. Our clients’ savings can be vast since Elastopipe™ is entirely maintenance-free, meaning all usual maintenance costs are waived. More importantly, the risk of costly shutdowns is eliminated, and operations and processes can continue undisturbed.
Q: How critical is the role of R&D within the Trelleborg strategy?
A: We work together with asset operators. Research and development are crucial for us because we work in critical environments and applications. Without innovation through R&D, we would be unable to continue providing new successful solutions to our clients.
One of the more important characteristics of our R&D is the superior knowledge that our teams have of the raw materials we work with. We are using this knowledge to make modified versions of the rubber materials that we use in our Elastopipe™ fire water system for other applications. For example, where shock damping, thermal insulation or impact resistance are required.
We are always trying to identify new solutions based on industry trends. One trend we see is the increasing depth of wells that operators are working in, as well as the hostile environments our solutions are subject to. When wells are deeper, they generally require better insulation due to the high pressure and temperatures found there. This means we are investigating alternative solutions, both inside and outside of oil and gas. These are the areas that much of our R&D is focused on currently.
Q: What is Trelleborg’s differentiator?
A: Our advantage is that we have strong competition. This is always positive because it pushes us to constantly improve to ensure we remain the customers’ number one choice. We are a global company with financial strength that has a strong local commitment. We speak the same language that our clients speak. Aside from this, our knowledge of polymer is unsurpassed: we are experts. Therefore, our ability to find required solutions is hard to match. Having a local agent with a good understanding of their own country´s business culture and local network, like Jahnsen Business Consulting, is essential for Trelleborg’s success in global markets.
Q: How will Trelleborg adapt to the new price environment?
A: The company’s recent collective experience has helped us adapt to the current situation. A major advantage Trelleborg possesses is our flexibility. We are global but also local, so we understand the need to change our interaction with stakeholders, clients and suppliers. We are constantly striving for excellence as a company; we have excellence programs in manufacturing, purchasing and sales in place to ensure we are continually evolving. We supply our polymer solutions from Norway, but also have mobile facilities and solutions that can easily be deployed to different markets, including Mexico.
Q: How does Trelleborg approach potential clients in Mexico that may not have worked with you in other markets?
A: Our strategy in Mexico is much the same as elsewhere. We approach the client together with our local agent and try to understand their requirements and needs. We then show them technical papers and studies that demonstrate the benefits of our products, as well as including references from the world’s major operators and projects already successfully completed in Mexico. Our communication is focused on problem-solving potential.
Q: What are the company’s goals within the Mexican market?
A: Our mindset is long term and, as we have decided to commit to a presence in Mexico, we are here for the long run.