Tecpetrol and its industrial DNA

On Wednesday, September 23 at 6:00 p.m., Pablo Blasco, Senior Manager of Industrial Management at Tecpetrol, gave a virtual talk for engineering and geoscience students. Blasco explained and analyzed how projects are managed in the Oil & Gas industry and focused on the innovations introduced by Tecpetrol at Fortín de Piedra.

The event was organized by the University Relations area, which carries out various activities such as university talks, site visits, and exchange forums between students and company professionals, etc.

The talk began with a brief presentation about the company and Fortín de Piedra, the flagship project where Tecpetrol has transformed the way in which production is managed: “The first step we took was to rethink the production paradigm. When we started thinking about this, we realized that the industry in general was continuing work according to an earlier paradigm and, in order to achieve greater efficiency, we had to think outside the box."

Tecpetrol faced the challenge of developing unconventional projects from the point of view of optimizing productivity while keeping costs to a minimum, in the context of the mass dimensions representative of this type of operation. The paradigm shift Blasco singled out refers to jumping from a so-called "traditional" production mode to one streamlined to follow an industrial management model similar to mass production industries. The company decided to achieve this by addressing three key aspects: how to industrialize operations, redefine the supply chain and digitalize its processes.

The model is based on standard or serial production where the distinctive characteristic centers on recognizing that the quality of each well is not necessarily defined by its maximum yield, its benefits are what is intended for use, and all of this involves processes requiring prior studies and decision-making before production can be launched. The results yielded by this process include significant profit margins, based on the contributions made by considering the set of elements as a whole, and the standardization of processes and operations.

“When this shift in unconventional production emerged, the industry began to conceptualize what was called the Factory Model. In the model applied at Tecpetrol, we removed the well from the center of the equation, replacing it with the operations involved in making a well go into production,” commented Blasco. He added that "this may seem simple, but it was a major paradigm shift which has allowed us to develop projects in a very different way from what the traditional industry was used to."

He then explained on how these concepts were applied in the company: “We worked on the management model and were able to identify new elements to be developed. New indicators and reports were defined. We looked at the way we were managing time using an analogy frequently employed by mass consumer companies. We adapted their management models and sought to maximize the relationship between effective time and operating time.”

This management model created new roles in the company, depending on the operation and size. The Pad Management and Industrial Management areas were created to foster joint work with the Operations and Planning areas and, in this way, optimize the application of new management models.

In addition, during his talk, Blasco mentioned the development of the Fortín II project and the establishment of a unified drilling control room. Regarding the first, which is based on the application of the business process management (BPM) methodology, Blasco explained that “this is an extremely important project, where we need to map processes and sub-processes, analyze each one of them in detail and identify areas of opportunity." Regarding the control room, he highlighted how important this was for the on-line monitoring of operations, enabling support to be provided to field personnel by engineers trained to analyze operating variables in detail.

The new model applied in Tecpetrol as from the Fortín de Piedra project, is being expanded to all the company's operations and is today considered a milestone for the industry. Applying a different operations management model has significantly reduced the total lead time for putting a well into production, on a par with the highest productivity levels achieved by international companies.

Pablo Blasco sees several opportunities for the future in this development and explains that “we were able to replicate the impact achieved in some operations throughout many others. The great development at Vaca Muerta is based on an open learning model, so we must find a way to share knowledge and learn together."

The talk will remain available for those who were unable to take part in the live broadcast.

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