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2011 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference to focus on being the best in a growing business

Posted on 22 February 2011

Davie Stewart, 2011 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference chairman

Davie Stewart, 2011 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference chairman

Companies that want to be the best in the drilling business will have a lot to glean from this year’s SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, to be held 1-3 March in Amsterdam. The theme of the event – “Being the Best – Growing Our Business” – is all about high reliability performance, said conference chairman Davie Stewart, Shell vice president of wells disciplines.

When the conference’s Advisory Committee decided on the theme, they believed the industry would be coming out of the downturn associated with the global recession and would be facing a period of rapid expansion. “And I think that’s been borne out; there is significant growth in the market that everyone’s starting to feel,” Mr Stewart said.

Through three plenary sessions, key industry leaders will address different aspects of the theme. On the first day, the panel will look at questions relating to “Sustainable Competitive Advantage in an Era of Fast Followers.” “Who wants to invest first in technology to get that technical advantage and who wants to be the follower? The plenary session will encourage the panel to give us insights into that,” Mr Stewart said.

This session will be moderated by Shell manager wells R&D Jan Brakel. Panelists will be Claus Hemmingsen, Maersk Drilling CEO; Pete Miller, National Oilwell Varco chairman, president and CEO; John Bannerman, TOTAL vice president – drilling completion; and Satish Pai, Schlumberger Oilfield Services vice president operations.

The second-day plenary will look at the challenges of drilling in new frontier areas. “We need to understand what makes a frontier area and what do we consider to make them better,” Mr Stewart said.

He believes that this session will likely address some important questions related to process safety, due to the frontier nature of deepwater efforts ongoing around the world. “Post-Macondo, we’ve all got a determination to redouble our efforts (on safety). We need to make as much impact in process safety as we have in personal safety. Many companies have been significantly improving process safety already; however, as an industry, we have to be reliably at zero in terms of process safety incidents in the areas where we operate.”

Industry leaders featured on this panel are Kevin Robert, Pride International senior vice president marketing & business development; Johan Surewaard, Shell vice president wells, new ventures, MENA, Russia, Caspian; Ruben Costa, Sonangol senior vice president production; Mike Dyson, BG Group general manager well engineering; and Peter Fontana, Weatherford International chief operating officer. Paul Sankey, Deutsche Bank Securities lead analyst – US integrated oil, will moderate the discussion.

On the final day, the plenary will directly address performance – “How Do You Get Better at Getting Better?” Panelists will look at how companies have achieved performance in the past and how to sustain that performance moving into the future. “I think you’ll hear a good balance in that conversation around driving performance but at the same time managing the technical and safety aspects,” Mr Stewart said.

This session will be moderated by David Reid, NOV global account vice president/E&P business & technology. On the panel are David Williams, Noble Corp chairman, president and CEO; Geir Slora, Statoil senior vice president – drilling; Graham Brander, Apache global drilling manager; and Derek Mathieson, Baker Hughes president technology and product lines.

For the first time at the Drilling Conference, the plenary sessions will allow audience members to send in questions for panelists via text messages rather than having to step up to the microphone. “The Advisory Committee will be overlooking a piece of software managing the questions coming in. They will suss them out by theme and give them to the moderator to help the conversation,” Mr Stewart described. He believes the text messaging is an interesting application of technology, and he and the Advisory Committee hope it will aid the plenary session conversations.

Mr Stewart also noted the strength of this year’s technical sessions, to be presented by “first-class people on a wide area of subjects. … I think attendees will be suitably impressed and stimulated by the quality of the technical sessions, and they’ll get massive information.”

For more information on the Drilling Conference or to register, visit the event web page.

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