Paragon Wins Major Offshore Contract from Pemex

Pemex Exploration and Production awarded Paragon Engineering Services, Inc. a contract to provide basic and detailed engineering for two drilling platforms in 600 feet of water offshore Mexico, the Ayin-A and Ayin-B platforms, Paragon announced today. This is Paragon's first contract with PEP.

Von Thompson, Paragon's executive vice president, said Paragon is eager to work with Pemex and demonstrate its capability to assist with its expansion plans.

"We found a fair bid process with clear client expectations that Paragon can deliver," he said. "I think as Pemex is moving into deeper water and more complex projects, they are gaining an appreciation of value engineering and will recognize Paragon as a partner able to deliver the expertise to achieve success," Thompson said.

The tender agreement specifies that, within an 18-week period, Paragon develop the engineering deliverables required for Pemex to solicit engineer/procure/install/commission (EPIC) bids for the platforms. Tasks will include issuing approved for construction (AFC) engineering details to PEP and assisting in development of the technical portions of the bid tender packages.

According to Don Walters, Paragon's Pemex project director, the 18-week project schedule is aggressive, but realistic.

"The key to achieving the schedule is to closely monitor performance, avoid schedule slippages and begin work only when sufficient information is available to complete that piece of work," Walters said. "With the expert personnel, proven systems and advanced technology available to us, this 18-week project is achievable."

Walters cites Paragon's use of database engineering and the PDMS 3D modeling system as keys to meeting the schedule.

"Paragon's approach to design and modeling is different from the industry standard," Walters said. "Most companies design first and create a model following the design phase. But Paragon creates the model throughout each phase of the platform design, which ultimately produces a more reliable model."

Pemex commented on the factors that set Paragon apart from the competition.

"Paragon's 3D modeling approach produces an actual as-built model – it's so accurate," a Pemex representative said. "This proved to be a critical factor in awarding the contract to Paragon, and as a result, should simplify the EPIC phase of the project. Furthermore, Paragon is well-positioned to confirm and verify all the design, engineering, fabrication and procurement factors to Pemex and international specifications."

The original tender also specified that all project deliverables be submitted in both English and Spanish. As a result, Guillermo Islas, Paragon's business manager and director of operations for Mexico, is overseeing the creation of a Spanish language technology database within PDMS.

"On a tight timeframe, the language database will be an important factor," Islas said. "Anyone on the team, whether in Houston or Mexico, from any discipline, can review portions of the project in their preferred language, which will save time now and in the future phases."

Islas added that the language database also will prove valuable to the project's EPIC bidders.

"During the EPIC bid process, local Mexican and international fabricators will receive a direct benefit of having the bilingual database to help them expedite their RFQs to vendors," he said. "As a result of the 'virtual, as-built' engineered model, Pemex and its vendors can maximize their resources during fabrication and improve accuracy," Islas said.

The platforms will feature a four-leg skirt-pile design and will represent today's offshore technology in both fabrication and installation, according to Paragon's Director of Structural Engineering, Scott Key. In the past, Pemex has used eight-pile platforms for similar applications. Key explained the benefits of the change to a four-pile design.

"In the past 20 to 30 years, the eight-pile jacket has served its purpose and has been the backbone of the Pemex offshore drilling program, but now the industry is able to better analyze structures and has access to superior building materials and improved installation methods," he said. "These technological advances justify the use of a four-leg jacket for Pemex's application in 600-foot water depths."

Key also said skirt-pile designs are popular now due to the availability and development of underwater hammers that make the pile installation process quicker and easier.

"Improved pile-driving capabilities reduce cost and the weather window, which ultimately reduce risk," Key explained.

Once constructed, the jackets will weigh approximately 8,000 tons. According to Key, since only a few contractors worldwide are able to lift jackets of this size, the jackets will be launched, allowing more options to Pemex during the installation phase.

"By launching the jackets, Pemex will gain more control of the schedule and availability of suitable contractors for the job," Key said.

Islas reports that, when Paragon's initial work is completed, Pemex intends to retain Paragon as an advisor for the EPIC portion of the project.