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2016 Chairman: IADC to sustain engagement with public, regulators

In recent years, Rowan has expanded into the ultra-deepwater sector with the construction of four state-of-the-art drillships, including the  Rowan Resolute.

When someone graduates with a DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford, a typical career choice might be to go into academia, or perhaps a research institute. But Tom Burke is not a typical guy making typical career choices. Instead of following such traditional paths, he decided to go offshore and work on drilling rigs. He didn’t have family in the business, and the year was 1994 – a difficult time in the drilling industry.

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Global oil slump puts Africa’s drilling potential on hold

The Ensco DS-8 is contracted to Total until November 2020 for operations in Angola. Total expects to decrease its rig count in Africa from 12 in 2015 to fewer than 10 in 2016.

Although significant potential remains for increased drilling activity in Africa, the global oil price slump has left this market stagnant for now. Exploration activity throughout the continent was largely on hiatus in 2015, and if oil prices remain low through 2016, this trend is almost certain to continue. The drop in exploration activity is a result of reactionary budget cuts, as operator profit margins have become increasingly strained due to the still-falling oil prices. Such was the case for Total, an operator that spends a third of its total investments on the African continent. “The impact of the low-priced oil environment currently is that we have started the project of strong cuts and reduction of costs,” Benoît Ludot, Vice President Drilling & Completion for Total Exploration-Production, said.

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Shale won’t replace deepwater, but offshore industry must reengineer value chain to reach economic parity with onshore

Chris Beckett, CEO, Pacific Drilling

We noticed signs of weakness and a relative lack of contract availability as early as Q2 or Q3 of 2014. The ultra deepwater-focused companies were already considering how deepwater economics were challenged at $75-$80 per barrel price. As a result, we had seen a lot of our clients take a pause in exploration activity, but obviously, it’s gotten worse since 2014.

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2016 IADC Officers

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Thomas Burke was appointed Chief Executive Officer and elected a director of Rowan Companies in April 2014. He served as Chief Operating Officer beginning in July 2011 and was appointed President in March 2013. Dr Burke first joined the company in December 2009, serving as Chief Executive Officer and President of LeTourneau Technologies until the sale of LeTourneau in June 2011. From 2006 to 2009, Dr Burke was a Division President at Complete Production Services, an oilfield services company, and from 2004 to 2006 served as its Vice President for Corporate Development. Prior to that, he worked at McKinsey & Company and Schlumberger.

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Critical issues in drilling & completions

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It’s a tough time to be in the drilling business. We always knew this was a cyclical industry, yet the consistently high oil prices over the past decade – save for the 2008-09 economic blip – had shoved any thoughts of a real market collapse far into the back of our minds. Initial optimism that there would be a quick recovery to this cycle has also waned, with many adopting the attitude of “lower for longer.” For most companies, the focus has shifted considerably toward cost reduction. Operators are cutting back on exploration and zeroing in on core assets, and drilling contractors are faced with significantly lower dayrates and the difficult decisions of warm stacking, cold stacking or even decommission

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Improved techniques, mixing units can minimize crew exposure to caustic soda on drilling rigs

Many companies in the drilling industry still use traditional techniques for mixing caustic soda. This includes using 55-gal barrels with connected paddles to facilitate the mixing operation. Some drilling companies, however, have upgraded their units by adding an electrical motor for agitation purposes, instead of using manual handles.

Hazardous substances cause 74,000 work-related deaths in EU countries each year. This indicates that more people die from dangerous substances than from workplace incidents. Caustic soda is one of the hazardous substances. A significant number of employees are away from work due to caustic soda skin burns, which can take weeks or months to heal.

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