CATEGORIZED | 2008, January/February

IADC tackles key challenges of safety, people and environment in these interesting times

Posted on 29 October 2009

By John Lindsay, 2008 IADC Chairman

I am honored to serve as 2008 chairman of the International Association of Drilling Contractors. It is all the more exciting to chair IADC in such exciting times for our business.

Today’s oil and gas industry operates at a breakneck cycle and represents a long-awaited upturn in our business. But every silver lining has a cloud, so let’s be aware of the issues that confront us – many of them spawned by this very upturn.

First and foremost is safety. Improving industry safety is a cornerstone of IADC’s mission, and has been since its founding in 1940. The decision to operate safely is the most important operational decision we make. Everything else is secondary, because if we can’t do it safely, we shouldn’t do it at all.

IADC has done a great deal to advance safety in our industry. Most recently, IADC was recognized by the International Regulatory Forum (IRF) for the our Health, Safety and Environmental Case Guideline. IRF bestowed to IADC its “Carolita U. Kallaur Award for Outstanding International Safety Leadership” for this accomplishment.

The IADC HSE Case was launched in October 2006 to provide a framework for developing an integrated HSE management system to help reduce risks associated with drilling activities. Although it was originally developed for offshore drilling, we have more recently issued a companion document for onshore drilling. The IRF comprises oil-and-gas regulators from eight countries, including the US, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

The HSE Case is rapidly gaining worldwide acceptance and exposure in drilling markets worldwide.

Recruiting, training and retaining people continue to be huge challenges. We hear a lot about the people shortage these days, but, not unlike the weather, there are few concerted efforts to attack this problem. IADC has taken the lead in reaching out to non-traditional parts of the US to recruit for the future of our industry. Through the IADC Career Connection initiative, IADC has organized job fairs at two Ford Motor facilities scheduled for imminent closure. In addition, IADC, in conjunction with the US Army, arranged for a number of drilling contractors to meet with returning military at Fort Hood in January. These highly motivated men and women are just the people our industry needs to move forward.

We have made many strides in training, beginning with our WellCAP and RIGPASS programs, aimed at establishing common benchmarks for training in well control and rig safety, respectively. In 2007, we began phasing in the IADC Drilling Industry Training Accreditation Program. This program will offer a general form of training accreditation for programs outside IADC’s existing systems.

RIG PASS has become a regional standard for the Middle East. In particular, Petroleum Development Oman and Saudi Aramco are implementing a “RIG PASS for everyone” policy on their websites, and other producing companies are expected to do likewise.

Finally, the environment. We owe it to ourselves, our communities and our companies to improve environmental performance. Again, IADC has taken a leadership position. For example, earlier this year, IADC established voluntary guidelines for collecting environmental data and providing it to operators and other entities.

An old Chinese curse states, “May you live in interesting times!” When you think about it, this is exactly the situation in which the global drilling and production industry finds itself today. Times are interesting, all right, but our challenges are great.

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