By Ed Jacob, 2015 IADC Chairman
In 1940, a dozen men gathered around a table in Chicago to form the American Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, to bring together and represent drilling contractors. Much has changed in the following 75 years. Technical innovations have allowed us to drill in geographies once thought impossible to access, LTI rates have been drastically reduced, and our focus on safety and training has led to huge gains in reducing fatalities.
I have been involved with IADC since 1983. Over the course of my 40-plus year career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the industry. They invested their time in me, imparting knowledge and skills that have helped me advance my career. Serving as IADC’s chairman for 2015 is my opportunity to give back.
Over the course of this year, I would like to address some of the issues that I see as critical to the continued success of our industry. This issue of the magazine features many of my esteemed colleagues discussing issues that face a constantly and rapidly evolving industry, and I will add to that here.
I believe that our people, our employees, are crucial to a successful operation. They are our biggest asset, and recruiting them is one of our biggest challenges. Much has been made of the Big Crew Change, and it is true that recruiting new employees is critical to ensure the next generation is properly educated, trained and given opportunities to advance in our industry.
Tied to the challenge of recruiting and retaining our next generation of employees is training and safety. There is nothing more important than ensuring the safety of our people. Providing quality training is an expense; having a workforce of properly educated and trained employees is invaluable. One incident by one company affects us all in the eyes of the public and regulators.
It is with a great degree of pride that I can say that IADC members have committed their time and resources to tackling these issues. The Workforce Attraction and Development Initiative (WADI) will introduce a new accreditation program in 2015. Under the WADI umbrella, colleges have teamed up with the industry to develop course curriculum for introductory-level industry employees. It has been a huge effort to unify these two groups for the good of the industry, and IADC is at the helm.
IADC’s flagship well control training program, WellCAP, has undergone a complete overhaul. The new program will be introduced mid-year, revolutionizing well control training.
And the Knowledge, Skills and Ability (KSA) competencies database continues to be updated with more rig-based positions.
These are but three of the major deliverables for IADC that address the need for a competent workforce. Over the course of the year, you will hear more about each, along with other programs and initiatives under development.
Just as important, and particularly in a challenging business environment, is an attention to policy and government relations worldwide. Within the past year, IADC has stepped up its capacity in this area, positioning resources and staff in geographies around the globe as IADC continuously seeks opportunities for the drilling industry to have a voice in developing regulations.
In 2015, US-based contractors can expect IADC to engage, on a state-by-state basis, with legislators to find out their agendas and advocate for sensible regulation that enables responsible drilling operations. On a US federal level, IADC will continue to work closely with OSHA and the Department of the Interior, among others, on issues that impact our industry. On a global level, IADC has staff allocated in all geographies where drilling operations are taking place. They have been tasked with listening to local concerns and issues and turning them into action with local regulatory regimes and legislators.
From a member perspective, the success of our organization is dependent on collaboration. Each successful initiative, program and project was conceived and undertaken by IADC members who saw a critical need, pulled together a group of like-minded people and set out to solve it.
Personal to me, given my long involvement with this association, is ensuring that the new generation feels similarly empowered to have a voice within IADC. During this year, I hope to work with others to ensure that we are a welcoming space for new members, young and old, to ensure that IADC remains the one organization that stands for drilling contractors.
We can be proud of our history and the strides the industry has made in the past 75 years. I am proud to follow in the footsteps of our first chairman, J.E. Brantly, and the 71 others who have held the title of IADC Chairman, and I optimistically look forward to the year ahead.