Paolo Rocca: "Argentina can look to projects of a truly extraordinary dimension in the future"
At the event held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the ProPymes Program, Rocca emphasized the importance of continuing to support companies in the communities where the Techint Group operates, and highlighted the progress being made on the President Nestor Kirchner Gas Pipeline. The event was hybrid, with in-person and virtual participation by the Group’s directors and the executives from the SMEs taking part in the program from around the country, as well as national authorities.
The ProPymes Program, founded by the Techint Group as a corporate initiative to develop its value chain, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. At a multi-faceted hybrid event attended both in-person and online by 650 representatives from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the focus was on sharing with Techint Group leaders, analysts and public officials.
Paolo Rocca spoke at the end of the seminar in a high-level exchange with Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa, sharing views on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the ProPymes value chain in the context of the country’s future, and singled out the swift progress being made on the President Nestor Kirchner Gas Pipeline (GPNK).
Rocca stated that, “The work of our ProPymes Program is not limited to fostering better relationships with the Techint Group companies, but also embraces the development of communities and education, areas where our influence is a key factor for their growth. I think this program is unique as a Group initiative.” Later in his speech, he referred to the rapid progress being made on the GPNK project, adding that, "It's an extraordinary project."
Opportunities for Argentina and the region
The opening speech was given by Martín Berardi, executive president of Ternium Argentina, who talked about the evolution of the Program over its 20 years. “Over time, the progress we made started to attract the customers and suppliers of Ternium and Tenaris, and the program expanded to include Tecpetrol and Techint Engineering & Construction. In these 20 years, we have carried out over 2,500 diagnoses and consultancy sessions, training over 46,000 people and improved 45 technical schools. Our success is founded on three pillars: a clear long-term vision, committing enough resources to implementing these initiatives, and doing all this within a framework of transparency that fosters trust.”
“The sustainability agenda is moving up the world’s agenda. In this context, we have launched ProPymes Environment, to offer company’s training in environmental sustainability with a view to helping them to make the right kinds of improvements. This new initiative has four axes: assessing an organization’s environmental footprint, looking after and training people, working with the value chain, and cooperating with our communities," he said.
The panel continued with a series of analyses at global, regional and local level given by Carlos Melconian, President of IERAL (Fundación Mediterránea) and Andrés Malamud, a Political Scientist and researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon.
New opportunities for gas with the development of Vaca Muerta
Vaca Muerta is an opportunity to develop value chains across the country, in particular to consolidate the role of gas as one of the protagonists in the energy transition. The second panel featured Ricardo Markous, CEO of Tecpetrol, and Roberto Simonutti, Director of SICA Metalúrgica, who discussed the importance of developing national energy and self-sufficiency.
Markous referred to Vaca Muerta as an invaluable source of wealth for the region. “Vaca Muerta is already a reality today. The quality of the rock is excellent, we are achieving production levels that exceed those in the United States, and with similar fracturing times. As a whole, the country is producing some 260,000 barrels of oil per day and 54 million cubic meters per day of natural gas. Our estimate is that by 2030, we could be producing more than 750,000 barrels, and our estimated output capacity for next year is 11 million cubic meters of gas. When we first started developing Vaca Muerta, we took the decision to invest 2 billion dollars, providing employment to more than a thousand SMEs. Imagine the potential of its future development in terms of employability.”
Simonutti emphasized the importance of the ProPymes Program and told the story of his family company. “It was my father, a welder with big dreams, firmly supported by my mother, a seamstress, who founded our company. We joined ProPymes in 2013 as Ternium customers and we began to align with much of the Techint Group's unique style, something that helped us to transform our actions and turn our plant and our management into something truly professional. Today, our vision is to export our pressure vessels to the rest of the world.”
The new global energy scenario and the expansion of local transport
The next panel brought Javier Martínez Álvarez, President of Tenaris Southern Cone, and Agustín Gerez, President of Energía Argentina together on the dais for an in-depth discussion of the industrialization of gas and the development of the GPNK as a key infrastructure project.
Martínez Álvarez opened his presentation with an analysis of the implications of Vaca Muerta in terms of energy. For him, “the Gas Pipeline work is super challenging. We have to complete it all within a year. We are firmly committed to this challenge, manufacturing three kilometers of pipes per day, a figure that will be even greater at the peak of the process, with one truck entering and leaving Valentín Alsina every five minutes. If we manage to successfully complete stage 2 of the gas pipeline, we will have overcome all kinds of fears and doubts, and we will be in a position to consolidate the energy sector as a success story, thanks to its growth and transformative potential for the country.”
Gerez also referred to Argentina's energy potential, stressing that, “we are approaching a sea-change in this country. The gas pipeline is a work that will give Argentina a strategic resource, not only in terms of security of supply but also as regards the logical processes of the energy transition. We are going to provide Argentina with 22 million cubic meters of gas by next winter. The construction of the GPNK is ushering in a new political consensus around the importance of this project, and it’s becoming state policy. We will have a guaranteed gas supply until 2028, regardless of the political party in power.”
Martínez Álvarez wound up the panel by referring to another upcoming milestone. “We are building a wind farm in the province of Buenos Aires, in the town of Gonzales Chaves which will produce 100 megawatts of power, enough to supply half of the electricity required by our Industrial Center in Campana. The wind farm will also enable us to work with a much cleaner energy matrix for our customers, something which not only they are demanding but also our community and employees.”
The potential of the Argentina of the future, with the leading role played by competitive value chains
Paolo Rocca closed the annual seminar bringing together the community of Techint Group customers and suppliers in a special session shared with Economy Minister Sergio Massa, where they discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the ProPymes value chain in the context of Argentina’s future.
“ProPymes was created with a vision of enhancing our communities, within our sphere of action, influencing them through the concrete things that we do. If we unite and work together, we can change the lives of thousands of people. We started with barely a dozen companies twenty years ago, and now we are many thousands strong, a major source of pride. The work of our ProPymes Program is not limited to fostering better relationships with the Techint Group companies, but also embraces the development of communities and education, areas where our influence is a key factor for their growth. I think this program is unique as a Group initiative,” expressed Rocca in his opening words.
For his part, Massa noted that, “With ProPymes, we see just how easily the myth of contradictions collapses. Agriculture and industry are in fact complementary. I congratulate the program because I believe that the construction of these ecosystems makes it possible to sustain projects driving complementarity. In terms of energy, we are going to draft a bill on LNG and hydrogen and present it to Congress, in the hope that it will become a state policy adding value to renewable energy. Next year we plan to start on the second stretch of the GPNK so that, by the beginning of 2025, both sectors will offer us the opportunity to open our export market to Brazil.”
Rocca highlighted the swift progress being made on the GPNK and remarked that, “Argentina can look to projects of a truly extraordinary dimension in the future. Redefining the value chain is opening up new paths for us in terms of energy. The country is poised to become an oil exporter with the proper development of infrastructure in Vaca Muerta. In these projects, I can see an area where consensus can be shaped. I believe that this way of working, joining forces, sharing objectives and mobilizing communities, can build the kind of consensus with the capability to transform this country.”
Finally, Rocca concluded that, “When we see the implementation of projects like this, we get an idea of a much longer-term vision. We are laying the ground for consensus about a basic vision. Last year, we invested 600 million dollars in the energy sector in Argentina, among all the Group’s companies. This year we will end up investing 1.1 billion dollars, and the following year we plan to invest a further 1.4 billion. We are convinced of the value of this project and we believe in the possibility of creating a consensus that will transform the country. For us, whose value chain is small but very strong, it is also a vital opportunity.”
The event also featured presentations from the younger generation: Delfina Mosqueira, a student from the Roberto Rocca Technical School (ETRR) in Campana and a member of the Argentine team for the 2022 Robotics World Cup, and Valentino Pettazi, a 7th-year student at Technical School 6 “Siderurgia Argentina” from San Nicolás, who took part in the Roberto Rocca Technical Gene Program. Other speakers included Gustavo Saavedra, the President and General Director of SAMET, Agustin Dulcinelli, General Manager of Tecmade, and Mariano Remondino, General Manager of Tromen.