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IADC World Drilling 2008 in BerlinIADC’s World Drilling 2008 Conference & Exhibition kicked off on Wednesday, 11 June, with a packed crowd of more than 300 participants from more than 30 countries.

2006 IADC chairman Claus Chur, in welcoming the crowd to Berlin, noted that the conference’s theme is “New Frontiers, New Challenges, New Technologies.” Although renewable energy sources have been making headlines recently, he pointed out that the petroleum industry continues to provide more than 80 million bbl/day of oil for the lives and welfare of communities around world. What will be required of the industry, from drilling engineers to rig crews, to keep up with this enormous challenge will be the critical topic at this year’s event.

IADC World Drilling 2008 kicks off in Berlin

Standing in for 2008 IADC chairman John Lindsay of Helmerich & Payne, Shane Marchand, H&P manager of international marketing and business development, delivered opening remarks highlighting the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“Everybody here has a shared vision, and that is to operate incident-free,” he said. Safety is the most important decision we make and the most important action we take every single day. The industry has moved into an era of high activity, with a significant number of new rigs joining the global fleet, and that means new employees are going into critical jobs, he said. This has made the process of coaching and mentoring these green hands even more important as we develop tomorrow’s leaders.

Collaboration, whether among drilling contractor or operators or service companies, will be necessary if we are to reach incidence-free status. “Collaboration is our greatest lever,” he said.

Looking at safety statistics compiled by IADC’s Accident Statistics Program (ASP) over the last 40 years, Mr Marchand noted that injury rates continue to decrease, especially over the past decade. Still, he cautioned, we must stay vigilant on safety. Opportunities for further improvement still exist in:

  • • Shared lessons via IADC’s safety alerts.
  • • Active participation in the IADC ASP by all drilling contractors.
  • • Environmental stewardship. Spills to the ground or sea, most often caused by human error, must be eliminated. Other tasks include meeting increased standards on engine emissions worldwide and reducing drilling noise in populated areas.

Besides safety, industry faces great challenges on several other fronts, Mr Marchand said. First, we must address the personnel shortage by working harder to attract, train and retain good people. We also need to continue to push the edge with new technologies so the difficult reserves can be extracted more efficiently. Finally, industry must challenge itself to deliver step-changes and improve performance.

Mr Lindsay also encourages the industry to achieve a higher level of collaboration across the board, Mr Marchand said. Adversarial relationships between operators, drilling contractors and service companies must be changed. “We need to break down the doors, because we all win when we work together.”

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