with Sergio Puch Villavicencio, Commercial Manager, Corporacion Petrolera (CORPESA PERU)
Can you tell us about CORPESA’s origins and how the company has grown to be one of the major service providers for the Peruvian oil & gas industry?
The company was formed back in 1992 and worked as a small transportation and logistics provider based in the Northern Amazon Jungle area (Iquitos). The first services were targeted towards the drilling companies. The founder and two other partners did everything from driving the trucks and operating the loaders to managing the general operations of the company. Over time they realized that the potential for growth as a drilling support company was very limited in Peru, because not many new wells were being drilled at that time. Given this scenario in 1997 they began offering other types of services to other companies related to the industry. The company moved on to offer construction services. As its first construction contract, CORPESA built an access road to one of the drilling sites in the Pucallpa area. A second and third contract followed and this is how CORPESA began diversifying their services, into offering civil and electromechanical engineering and construction, as well as industrial maintenance and environment remediation. Our clients back then were very pleased with our work and therefore they kept offering us new and different projects. They essentially took us by the hand and made sure that we grew parallel to them and to the industry as whole.
Today we are one of the most important construction and logistics providers to some of largest companies operating in the Amazon Jungle basin, such as Pluspetrol, Talisman, Repsol and Perenco. We haven’t stopped growing since we began operations and every year we invoice more than the previous one. Just to give you an idea, since I started working for the company in 1998 our yearly revenues have gone from US$1.5 million to an expected invoicing of US$75 million.
As an example of a Peruvian success story, what differentiates CORPESA from other EPCM companies operating in the country?
The main difference between us and those companies is that we still offer a range of services that those companies do not address. We are of the philosophy that no contract is too small for us and that all of our clients are equally important, even if it involves the smallest and simplest project. CORPESA originated as a company that would take on any odd-job that the large service providers were not willing to do. Sometimes we didn’t know if we were a logistics company doing construction or a construction company doing logistics. Given that we started as a small company and have grown together with the industry, we understand the importance of treating all of our clients alike and always with the same quality of service. Some of our clients also started off as very small companies and today have become important players in the industry.
Which of your services is driving the company’s growth today?
The company has grown so much that we recently created two different divisions: the oil & gas division and the transportation, logistics and hoisting division. The oil & gas division, for which I am responsible, still represents the largest part of our revenue. A year and a half ago we also set up an environmental remediation service, which is in fact our fastest growing business unit today.
How does CORPESA stay at the technological forefront in order to provide the most efficient and modern solutions to its clients?
Our role in bringing new technology to Peru is more related to bringing new specialized equipment and machinery that is not currently available in the country. For example, we are the only company in Peru with amphibious excavators that can be used to dig in lakes and marshes as well as for environmental remediation projects. This kind of equipment requires a large amount of investment, but it also makes our operations a lot more efficient. Furthermore, we also bring new professional knowledge into the company through partnerships that we have developed with international engineering institutes and other companies. This is especially the case for our environmental remediation projects that are overseen by our foreign partner but executed by us locally.
Does CORPESA currently have the expertise to serve the offshore segment and could this be a “golden niche” opportunity for you given the relatively small number of competitors?
Currently, we don’t have any projects in the offshore business however this is certainly a segment that we want to get involved with in the future. This is definitely part of our business plan and we have already made contact with the offshore operators in Perú.
What strategies are you employing to leverage the advantages of CORPESA and capitalize on the emerging opportunities?
The most important elements for a company like CORPESA are to provide the best service, on time and at a fair price. We have begun the process of our ISO 90001, 140001 and 180001 certifications which will further enhance the quality of the services we provide. This certification will be for all of our business lines and activities, so it truly represents an intense overhauling of our operations to have them meet the strict standards. We want to be perceived as a company that always accomplishes its projects with no mistakes and always offering the best quality possibly.
Taking note of this strategy, what do you envision for CORPESA five years from now, where would you like to take the company?
The vision of the CORPESA’s management is to become a solid and well-established company. We would like to become the best oilfield service company for integrated logistics and construction. If we are indeed recognized as such, the rest will come by itself including the clients and the revenues. Ultimately we would like to see CORPESA taking on major infrastructure EPCM projects: gas plants, refineries, etc.