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Experts discuss industry’s most pressing issues

By Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor

The world is addicted to oil.

That’s not meant to be negative, but it’s true. The world relies on hydrocarbons to go places and to get things done. Without oil or natural gas, there would be a Great Depression even more depressing than what we saw in the 1920s-30s.

That’s why what we do in the drilling industry is so vital — and why we must tackle the critical problems we’re facing head-on. There is no backing down from the challenges of deepwater. We can’t shy away from the complexities of unconventionals. And the people problem? We have to fix it fast.

In the following pages, you’ll find Q&A’s with top industry experts who discuss the numerous challenges ahead. But more importantly, they also give insight to possible solutions that can help us side-step our stumbling blocks.

Employees continue to get injured on the job? Drilling automation and rig mechanization can significantly reduce that risk, says Rodney Eads, Pride International. Drilling/completion costs are breaking budgets? Drill a one-size hole for a simpler and cheaper operation, says Rick Fontova, Enventure. Can’t transport heavy oil to refineries economically? Take the refinery to the field, says Vik Rao, Halliburton.

Not every solution suggested by our panel of experts is immediately at hand (and you may disagree with some of them too), but this industry can’t possibly overcome its challenges without innovative, “outside-the-box” thinking.

Remember, the world is addicted to oil, and they’re depending on us.

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