The Business Year

Giacomo Bonfanti

MEXICO - Industry

Giacomo Bonfanti

Commercial Director, GDI

Bio

Giacomo Bonfanti is the Commercial Director of GDI. Previously, he was the business development director and deputy CEO at GDI. He has expertise in market development, contract management, and strategic initiatives.

"The world is going through an energy transition, and the growth of gas is just a tiny variable."

How has GDI diversified its portfolio?

2019 was the year we decided to diversify both in terms of our typical business lines and countries. Before, we were known for pipeline construction and mining work, but now we have decided to diversify into the complete midstream segment, especially in storage terminal construction as EPC contractors. Now we design, procure, and construct projects for storage terminals. We finished the Veracruz hydrocarbons terminal, and we have decided to enter additional international markets. One market was Europe, and the other was Nicaragua in the mining division for a small quarry private client. In Europe, we looked at 15 river crossings for a gas pipeline in Serbia, which required a lot more collaboration.

What are your next steps when it comes to international expansion?

We are evaluating Canada and Texas for oil and gas. As for mining, 2020 will be a year of execution. Now that we are in Europe, we have to see if it is worth staying. We believe Saudi Aramco, thanks to its IPO, will require a great deal of infrastructure, and Saudi Arabia will be the next place to look at for mid-stream projects. The world has become a globalized economy, even though people are closing doors.

Is expansion one of your main goals for 2020?

For the moment, yes. We are building a storage terminal in Manzanillo for the private sector. The challenge is that it requires a lot of offshore work and a landfill connection between land and sea. The installation of the terminal, both connecting it and installing it, has become a huge challenge and it will make 2020 busy.

What are the most important characteristics you are looking for when it comes to international partnerships?

We are looking for a local partner who can help us grow fast and with whom we can complement the construction of pipelines or storage terminals. We have identified certain companies in Texas and Calgary. With that in mind, we are trying to see if there is a cultural match. When you arrive in another country, it is about matching the culture and wanting to get things done. As long as we find the right partner, we will be happy to continue working.

How do you ensure success in GDI’s international ventures?

The mentality of staying in one’s own country, seeing what happens, and growing with the country is not enough. If you want to grow and if you want to go far, the world is your oyster. The project in Europe is a small project worth around USD15 million. The one in Nicaragua is around USD28 million. These types of projects give us a chance to understand the country and how things work. Once we visualize the project, we can start thinking about how to mobilize resources. The first step is knowing how to collaborate far from home. For me, mobilization simply involves technical practices that need to be performed. We do not know yet if there is a market in Europe. The economy there is kind of stagnated like Mexico. Other countries like Saudi Arabia and Canada are growing especially in gas, and we are interested in these markets.

What opportunities have you identified within the global energy transition?

The world is going through an energy transition, and the growth of gas is just a tiny variable. We are going through a generational change. MIT produced an interesting tool that allows you to understand that this energy transition is an 80-year process. Even with taxes on coal and oil and subsidized renewables, we cannot achieve the requirements of the Paris Agreement. As GDI, we want to follow the transition accordingly by focusing first on oil and gas and then transitioning to other sources. Diversifying is about planting seed by seed and watching how they grow.

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