CATEGORIZED | 2011, Features, January/February

Critical Issues in Drilling & Completions – Exclusive Q&A’s with industry leaders

Posted on 28 January 2011

ENSCO 8501 is contracted in the US Gulf of Mexico

ENSCO 8501 is contracted in the US Gulf of Mexico

Nearly a year after the blowout on Macondo, the drilling industry is still trying to put the pieces back together in the US Gulf of Mexico. It hasn’t been easy. Despite extensive efforts to show the government that deepwater drilling can be done safely – as it has been done for decades – companies face a barrage of new regulations. And industry is eager to comply, yet trying to pin down exactly what compliance entails has been frustrating. “The problem is the US government doesn’t yet know how it wants to deal with offshore drilling. They say they want to allow it, but their actions don’t support it,” said David Williams, chairman, president and CEO of Noble Corp.

In the meantime, industry is taking a closer look at its management of risk. Mark Diehl, VP – engineering for Pride International, urged all industry stakeholders to engage in more conversations on reliability and fault management. Peter Sharpe, Shell executive VP for wells, reiterated his company’s commitment to deepwater and emphasized a growing focus on process safety.

Other critical issues cited by industry leaders include trying to standardize closed-loop automation and managed pressure drilling, renewing the global rig fleet and finding new ways to lower the cost per well. But perhaps the most critical challenge for this industry remains people, because training them to be safe and ensuring their competency will take everything we’ve got. As Keppel CEO Chong Heong Tong said, “People are definitely our key to success.”

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