From the chairman: IADC Red Thread – Paving the path to catalyze improved performance

Posted on 28 May 2013

David Williams, Noble Corp chairman, president and CEO

David Williams, Noble Corp chairman, president and CEO

A recent API study estimated that the US oil and natural gas industry has invested more than $252 billion since 1990 to improve the environmental performance of its products, facilities and operations. Nearly two-thirds was directed toward cleaner air and water. At the same time, technologies pioneered by the industry are transforming the US from a nation heavily dependent on imported oil to one with the potential to export energy. If this is news to you, well, regrettably, you are not alone.

Unfortunately, a curtain of negativity among the public and press overshadows our technical prowess and high degree of social responsibility. Communicating clearly and consistently about our industry and its unique role in the world economy is more important than ever. Moreover, if our industry is to take its rightful place among the world’s most respected industries, we must continue to demonstrate that our commitment to safety goes beyond mere words.

This is why IADC developed the Red Thread, a document reinforcing our industry’s mandate to catalyze improved performance and outlining IADC’s strategic and tactical plans to achieve that goal.

Drilling contractors, operators, service providers, equipment manufacturers and even regulators – we are all tied together. It is imperative that we develop collaborative relationships and build a greater sense of trust in one another and the industry as a whole. By working together and sharing knowledge, we can reduce operational, safety and environmental risks and thereby secure our continued license to operate. Collaborative relationships across the industry also will serve to provide access to resources previously beyond our technological, environmental and political reach.

It’s a tall task, but one that can be accomplished by focusing on fundamental and critical elements – people, process and equipment. Further, by championing  sensible legislation and regulation, we demonstrate that our industry is responsible and accountable.

There are several key IADC initiatives supporting this effort. First, the IADC Knowledge, Skill and Abilities (KSAs) set forth competency benchmarks for virtually every rig position. In other words, the KSAs for a given job identify the knowledge and skills an individual must possess to perform his or her duties.

Our industry is on a course to grow exponentially in the next few years, and the need for skilled workers is unprecedented. Our current workforce is aging, and too few new workers are coming aboard to meet future demand. Consequently, we are developing the Workforce Attraction and Development Initiative (WADI). IADC will partner with community colleges in the US to develop a global outreach program. WADI will  provide education on industry benefits and opportunities to high school students and veterans. This initiative will also offer continuous learning and development opportunities for current employees.

Further, a team of 60 drilling experts is at work rewriting the IADC Drilling Manual, the definitive operational drilling guide. Along with the Drilling Manual, the IADC HSE Guidelines and IADC Deepwater Guidelines are also undergoing major revisions.

These are just a sampling of the many programs that IADC has initiated to address the needs that you, the industry, have told us are critical for the future.  The implementation of these initiatives will deliver improved performance for our industry, one of the key strategic goals of IADC for the future.

Accomplishing these goals will take a commitment to considerable hard work by IADC members. Taking a cue from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Red Thread notably recognizes that IADC operations are “of the members, by the members and for the members.”  Active participation by you, our members, is indispensable if we are to maintain our license to operate. IADC staff cannot do it alone.

Membership, sponsorship, chapters, conference attendance, committees – all of these and more offer an opportunity to get involved in IADC and to share your knowledge and skills.

My hope is that you share the Red Thread with those around you. As IADC members, it is how we tell our story about the work that must be done in order to catalyze improved performance for the industry. Right now, we have an extraordinary opportunity to define what’s next for the drilling industry. By working together, we can ensure that our teams are prepared, trained and able to work safely wherever our assets are deployed around the world.

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