By Kelli Ainsworth, Editorial Coordinator
Although the downturn is forcing drilling contractors to stack rigs and make necessary budget cuts, the industry must maintain well control competence as a top priority, Claus Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling, said. Mr Hemmingsen, who also serves as Group Vice CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, gave the keynote address at the 2016 IADC Well Control Europe Conference in Copenhagen on 19 October. “We must take any opportunity we can to learn from each other and take advantage of the broader industry performance, including the mistakes that we make, to ensure that we will not repeat those mistakes and expose people, environment and economic interest to accidents,” Mr Hemmingsen said.
He warned that the industry will likely have to grapple with this downturn for at least another 18 to 24 months, even though oil prices have climbed higher from the $20s seen in Q1 of this year. “We are in for the extended downturn, and we better strap in and buckle up because it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride,” Mr Hemmingsen said. At Maersk Drilling, four out of every 10 rigs in its fleet are idle. “We have had to adjust our oil business strategy to the new market reality,” he added. “Our market ambitions, our growth plans and our revenue forecast strategies have all been radically modified to weather the storm and acclimate ourselves to the new normal. However, we have not and will not adapt our strategic goal of achieving and sustaining zero incidents.”
Reaching this goal is achievable, Mr Hemmingsen said, especially if companies are willing to share their knowledge and experiences with one another. He pointed to IADC’s Well Control Institute as an opportunity for contractors, operators and service companies to work together to bolster well control competency and performance. The BOP reliability JIP is another means for the industry to improve well control through collaboration. “Both initiatives are examples that will allow us to individually to take advantage of bigger knowledge bases as we individually seek to improve our performance,” he said. “It will lead to an all better performance and safety, and it still leaves room for one contractor to outperform the other.”
The contractor has started performing quarterly onboard well control training for their own personnel. It consists of theoretical and practical training using simulators. Bringing this training onboard the rigs allows crew members to discuss any challenges and learnings from the training with their peers, and immediately apply it to their day-to-day activities. “Our people will learn from each other and will improve their competences significantly, thereby it will help us to remain a highly competent and agile drilling contractor,” Mr Hemmingsen said. “And it is our wish that that vibrant learning culture should also exist throughout the industry and with our peers.”
As downturn drags on, the risk is increasing that technical innovations will be delayed and future leaders will turn to other industries, Mr Hemmingsen said. “As an industry, we have the responsibility to meet these challenges head on, and I believe that we can reduce the impact by sending a clear signal to each other that we are open to solve challenges and share our learnings together,” he said. “We need to protect and develop our know-how, and we need to prioritize safety and efficiency, and we need to work together to maximize value.”