VP Business Development, Director
A stroll through the past 35 years with Hermann Buschor is an introduction to the most important halls of the oil and gas business.
In his long career in steel pipe and corrosion protection, he has worked with and sold product to Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco, Petrobras, Chevron, BP, Total, Shell, Hess and ENI. He has also done business with some of the most important state-owned oil and steel companies, including those in Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mexico.
“It’s a fascinating industry – what they do, how they do it, the problems they run into,” he says. “And it’s been fascinating to see what kind of progress has been made in the last 25 years – the kind of products that have been developed to conquer barriers.”
It was that long professional experience that drew Buschor to CermaClad, a product that offers a new generation of improvement over previous efforts by offering better corrosion protection properties at a better price.
Born in Switzerland, Buschor first came to America while as an employee in international shipping and logistics.
“I came to New York to learn the American way, and worked in downtown Manhattan,” he says. He eventually began work with a steel pipe manufacturer and was transferred first to Singapore, where he sold drill pipe to the Far Eastern market, then to Europe, where he dealt with companies in Yugoslavia and Romania.
He returned to America in the mid-1970s, coming to Houston where he traded large-diameter pipe independently, then for IRI, the Italian state steel company. He sold product around the world – and for major domestic projects, like the Northern Border Pipeline, an important connection that brings Canadian natural gas to mid-western U.S. markets.
His work straddled the intersection between sales and engineering, a position that gave him a unique vantage point on the demands of industry.
“If you sell a product for a critical application, you have to work together with the technical department on issues like how the steel is cast, how it’s rolled, what the composition is, etc.” he says.
His background has provided him important insights into the shortcomings of current technology. Major oil companies, he says, are eager to abandon weld-overlay products because “it’s a tedious, slow process.” And in deep, frontier wells, difficulties in manufacturing mechanically-bonded pipe leave it uniquely vulnerable to failure. Even a slight imperfection in making that product can create corrosion that “becomes magnified and concentrated and is worse than if you have nothing.”
CermaClad, he says, “should last longer and is applied faster and more securely.”
It is, he says, “an excellent product.”
It is technically competent enough, he adds, to work in the toughest environments. And he knows just how difficult those environments can be, having helped provide steel, for example, to Gulf of Mexico offshore platforms as they moved into progressively deeper and more difficult waters.
By its nature, he says, pipe protected with CermaClad will be fit for the most challenging uses. “A clad product is automatically a critical application, because failure could cause environmental damage or injury,” he says. “So it has got to be done right.”