For gas to flow and national industry to grow
A paradigm shift in the purchase of critical field equipment has yielded highly promising results. This is the case of the new management follow-up model applied to the purchase of gas heaters.
Gas heaters are critical instruments for production. Each time drilling takes place, the gas in the well, which is at a very high pressure, rises to the surface and meets lower pressures, and thus cools down. This is where the gas heaters come into play, enabling fuel to flow uninterruptedly to the plant.
So far Tecpetrol had used heaters imported from the American company Exterran (now Enerfex), and although there had been attempts to manufacture them in Argentina, this was the first time that this initiative had been able to reach the final stages.
Following a tender process, the industrial SME called SICA, based in Esperanza, in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, was awarded the contract to manufacture the heaters for the new Fortín de Piedra wells, in line with the design and engineering developed by Exterran, and at a far more competitive cost than the imported version.
"An import substitution line is acceptable when it is more competitive and able to maintain quality performance," explained Luis Lanziani, Tecpetrol's Supplier Development Sr. Manager, to Tecpetrol Hoy. Through the ProPymes Program, Tecpetrol provided technical assistance to carry the project through, in line with the Program’s central objective which is to contribute to the development of the national economy. "At an operational level, being able to develop the potential of a local company also means more professional knowledge on-hand to assist with maintenance and post-sale services, as well as the possibility being able to adjust details to suit Tecpetrol's operations."
By the book: a star model
Unlike the procedures applied to other purchases, this was the opportunity to apply a new management and monitoring model. "We were able to maintain visibility throughout the process and detect those points where the parties needed to interact to resolve problems arising in manufacturing," explained José Bonifacio, Field Services & Facilities Procurement Manager at Tecpetrol, who was assigned as the project manager. Bonifacio held a weekly meeting with representatives from engineering, facilities, and field professionals, to discuss planning, decision-making, and conflict resolution. It quickly became clear that bringing more attention to bear on the process, including inspections three times a week to follow through on manufacturing progress led to a positive reduction in resources.
Applying the new management model meant that it was possible for the equipment, some 30 heaters, allocated in the ratio of one per PAD, to be manufactured to meet the required deadlines and quality standards. The project traveled to Neuquén, accompanied by all the relevant documentation, following the battery of tests carried out in the field and in the workshops, which allowed the team to pinpoint any problems early on in the process. Following the arrival and installation of the first three heaters, feedback was gathered and sent back for application in the manufacturing process of the next series, as a way of improving production standards.
"This is a paradigm shift in the purchase of critical field equipment," declared Lanziani. “When you get more involved in the process, you get different results which reduce the level of uncertainty. Everybody had the know-how arising from their experience of different problems, and when you put all of this together, it helps to avoid problems being repeated in the purchase process, from manufacturing to transport engineering.”