COLOMBIA - Energy & Mining
CEO, Summum Group
Daniel Lucio is a lawyer, having graduated from the Universidad de la Sabana de Colombia. He specialized in contracts law from Universidad del Rosario and has an MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans. He has more than 17 years of experience in professional practice, of which nine were dedicated to positions of senior responsibility. He has been a member of the board of directors of companies and consortiums in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. He has been the CEO of Summum Corp for the last four years.
The oil and gas sector is recovering after a difficult period. How was 2018 for SUMMUM?
It was a positive year for the company, where we saw double-digit growth over 2017. Our staff doubled to 1,200 employees, which reflects the new contracts and businesses that we were able to generate in 2018. Additionally, in terms of portfolio and customers, we attracted 40% more companies in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Furthermore, we forecast a growth in sales of 20% in 2019. We are extremely competitive, and our success rate in proposals made against those won has also increased considerably. In Peru, our operation had only one client a year ago and today has four. We have operated an office with a certain position in Mexico for nine years and continue to generate business.
What is your outlook for the oil and gas investment environment in Colombia in the coming years?
We have a positive outlook. Companies have unfortunately become accustomed to working in a pricing environment that generates little financial gain. In 2018, certain Colombian oil operators reported strong numbers, but still put pressure on prices for services companies like us, which led them to remain without suppliers and certain services required for their projects, thus hampering investment plans. Oil operators must understand that service companies also need to generate financial value. In short, they should review the prices they offer to suppliers as our margins remain tight, despite the inherent risks in the field.
How does SUMMUM’s innovative approach help it face particular challenges in the Colombian market?
In 2018, we started with a strong strategy called Ruta SUMMUN 2018-2021. The job of the organization’s management committee was to analyze the company’s potential position for the coming four years, what it should change to improve, where to innovate, and what lines of business to integrate into its service portfolio. External consultants supported us by generated the roadmap for the Ruta SUMMUN 2018-2021. Having reviewed our current business lines, we identified certain additional technologies that could be integrated into some of those business lines. We also reviewed our partnerships and are looking for key players with specific characteristics in order to penetrate new markets. While we are pleased with our performance in the Mexican market, there are further opportunities to tap in North, Central, and South America. We have offices in Mexico City, Colombia, and Peru. Interesting businesses are in the pipeline. Our evaluations have been translated into concrete projects that will involve the entire company. In 2019, we have to work hard to cover the schedule we have established. 2018 was one of structuring and defining projects, and 2019 will see the start of some of those projects.
SUMMUM was the first oil and gas company to be part of the anti-corruption business commitment for transparency in Colombia. What is the potential of such initiatives to transform the Colombian corporate world?
We have worked hard for three or four years in our commitment to compliance, and on strict adherence to the law in all jurisdictions in which we operate. We have reinforced our compliance work and actively participate in related discussions. SUMMUM has clear operational procedures. We wanted to be part of a representative entity to give opinions and listen to other companies as a good internal practice of our own operations. We are proud to be the only oil and gas company to do so, and this year, we have further initiatives along that line. For example, we will become ISO certified against corruption. We will continue participating in forums because there is an essential challenge to the dirty game that blights everyone in Colombia and the region. This effort cannot come from individual governments alone; the private sector must also contribute. SUMMUM will also be part of many more such initiatives going forward.
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