By Liz Craddock, IADC VP – Policy & Government Affairs
It is well known that enacted legislation and the regulations that follow have the ability to deeply impact the bottom line of any business, but particularly the companies that drill and produce the world’s vast natural hydrocarbon
resources. IADC has long recognized this impact and, during the association’s 78 years, has engaged in advocacy efforts to encourage laws and regulations that are not only transparent but also fit for purpose, meaning that they are written in a way that ensures successful implementation while achieving the presumed goal of making operations safer and more environmentally sound.
For IADC, advocacy is a top priority. It is of utmost importance to develop relationships and to serve as an educative resource for government regulators and legislators whose responsibility it is to draft the laws and rules that govern how, when and where this industry can conduct business.
The policy and government affairs function at the association has taken on a more important role in the past several years, culminating at the start of 2018 with an internal realignment of staff to better meet the advocacy needs of our members. IADC’s Onshore and Offshore groups, which previously functioned independently of each other, are now rolled into one department, along with the Washington, DC, office. This allows us to be more systematic and strategic in our advocacy efforts as we share contacts, information and expertise.
How is the work of the advocacy group adding value to IADC members? For starters, in the US, the current Administration has been vocal about achieving its goal of energy dominance for the country. In support of that commitment, it has rolled back regulations that hamper drilling and production activity. For example, the Bureau of Land Management’s rules on methane and hydraulic fracturing on federal lands have been halted in the past year, although still tangled in litigation.
Offshore, the Department of Interior, via the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, proposed a new five-year leasing plan for the Outer Continental Shelf, which at its start included 25 of the 26 available planning areas – a first. While those areas will get whittled down to a much smaller number and the details of the finalized plan will not be available for several months, IADC continues to advocate for increased access offshore. We are also keeping a close eye on how the newly announced US tariffs on aluminum and steel will impact IADC member companies and on the details of the expected updated rule related to well control out of the Department of Interior.
Beyond specific regulations, we continue the more nuanced work of developing relationships with members of Congress, positioning the association as a trusted and transparent educative resource. As in previous years, we will offer an opportunity for IADC members to participate in Washington, DC, fly-in’s to meet with those who are tasked with legislating and regulating this industry in the US. IADC has also restarted its political action committee, the DRILLERSPAC.
While this Administration has followed through on its promises to promote US energy dominance, the work for our advocacy team is far from over. While we are keeping our eye on federal regulations, the debate is shifting more local, as individual oil and natural gas producing states weigh how to properly allow access to their onshore and offshore reserves. This work is immense and works most effectively when IADC members connect with IADC staff to serve as boots on the ground, communicating back to our advocacy team the critical issues they face at both the state and local levels.
While IADC’s advocacy efforts may seem US-centric, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ongoing work that the IADC International Development group is doing with regard to advocacy on a worldwide scope. Our network of six regional representatives is well placed to provide assistance on concerns specific to the geographies in which they operate.
Over the past year, they have helped to galvanize IADC resources on a wide range of important issues with great success. These issues include cabotage in Indonesia; VAT issues in the Middle East; raising awareness of training and accreditation programs in emerging markets like Mexico; meetings with the director general of aviation in India to advocate on legislative requirements; and development of a new chapter in the Caspian to serve the interests of that region.
When I joined IADC three years ago, the association had a well-deserved positive reputation within Washington, DC, as an advocate for the interests of drilling contractors. As we continue and build on that legacy, I hope that each of you will join us in supporting this effort. Your input is invaluable to determine the issues we work on and the stances that we take on those issues.
IADC has never been in a better position to take on advocacy efforts on behalf of our members, and I, and the entire Advocacy team, look forward to working together to continue to position IADC as a trusted resource within the drilling industry. DC