By Jason McFarland, IADC President
In the last issue of DC, I talked in this space about how our industry must commit to the next generation just as it’s committed itself to innovation and safety. As IADC travels throughout the world, the topic of how to engage with, attract and retain the next generation of oil and gas personnel is top of mind for seemingly every segment of our industry.
There’s good reason. The US Energy Information Administration is projecting a 28% increase in worldwide energy use by 2040. The next generation will be responsible for building upon today’s technological innovations to ensure that our industry can supply the world’s energy while remaining respectful stewards of the environments in which we operate.
At IADC, we are also strategically looking at ways we can engage with the younger generation. We recognize that the successful future of our association will be determined by those who are at the start of their careers now. While there are varied ways to accomplish this goal, IADC is focused on expanding our network of student chapters and the establishment of an IADC Young Professionals Committee.
With regard to the student chapters, in the last two years, IADC had already established student chapters at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas A&M University and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. So far in 2019, we have added University of Wyoming to the fold, which joined IADC in January.
The student chapters offer a way for interested students to gain a deeper insight into the oil and gas industry. These students are receiving a top-notch education at their universities, and their affiliation with the student chapter offers an opportunity for IADC to expose them to the practical side of the industry.
They have been invited to participate in rig and facility tours, hosted presentations by prominent industry veterans and attended IADC conferences where they have had opportunities to network with industry executives. It goes without saying that such experiences will prove invaluable as they go forward in their careers.
Equally, it offers an opportunity for IADC’s members to showcase their operations and to serve as mentors to students looking to make a career in this industry. Both Latshaw Drilling and Patterson-UTI have hosted students from Texas A&M and the University of Wyoming, respectively, on rig visits in the past year. In Louisiana, Smith Mason & Co has been heavily involved with the local chapter at UL-Lafayette, hosting IADC-accredited training for students, who have received certifications in RigPass and WellSharp.
The students have also expressed interest in IADC’s committees, particularly those with a focus on the most cutting-edge industry technologies. Student chapter members have participated in recent Underbalanced Operations and Managed Pressure Drilling and Advanced Rig Technology committee meetings and conferences. They have gotten an inside look into IADC and the benefits of being an active participant in the association, with the hope that their enthusiasm for who we are and what we do is retained throughout their careers.
Just as importantly as what the students gain from the experience is what IADC’s members gain. IADC’s membership comprises industry thought leaders, experts and a large group of those who have varied and vast experience in this industry.
That experience and knowledge is an asset. Sharing it encourages a younger generation to view our industry as a modern and viable career path, and we are deeply grateful for those members who have gone out of their way to engage with the student chapter members.
As we look further into 2019, we will continue to grow our network of student chapters in the US at traditional four-year universities, as well as vocational/technical schools. We have also had discussions with institutions of higher learning outside of the US to determine how best to adapt the program to replicate its success.
We also recognize that engaging with the college crowd is only one piece of the puzzle. This year, we are also looking at how we can implement a new IADC committee that caters to the under-36 crowd, with a Young Professionals Committee. While the specifics are still being developed and discussed, the ultimate goal is to offer an opportunity for those new in their careers to become engaged with the IADC community.
As an association, IADC continues to work on ways to improve the member experience, with a focus on ensuring that we provide value. These programs are a commitment by our membership to share lessons learned and valuable knowledge and experience to ensure that a younger generation pursues a long career in the oil and gas industry and helps the global community to meet future energy demands. DC