Perspectives: Brady Long, Ensco – Dynamic drilling industry best experienced from the inside

Posted on 14 July 2011

Brady Long holds a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a political science degree from Brigham Young University.

Brady Long holds a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a political science degree from Brigham Young University.

Listening to Brady Long’s story of how he found himself working first at Pride International and now at Ensco, you realize that he’s telling you he feels more at home working among drillers than among lawyers. Considering his law degree background, it seems slightly ironic.

From Mr Long’s point of view, however, his transition from a law firm into the energy industry in 2004 couldn’t have been more natural. “Some of the finest people I’ve ever met are in this industry. There’s something special about people in the drilling industry, no question about it,” he said. “I feel like it’s a natural fit for me.”

His role as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Ensco – which he assumed after the company completed its acquisition of Pride on 31 May – also allows Mr Long to get into the everyday action of the business, versus simply facilitating from the sidelines.

“Working for a law firm, the biggest challenge was truly understanding your client’s operations. … You don’t have the same visibility to how the client functions. I was always curious about that and thought this would be much more interesting on the other side, where I’m working shoulder to shoulder with the client, as the valued counselor.”

In 2004, after spending five years with Bracewell & Patterson (now Bracewell & Giuliani), Mr Long joined BJ Services for about a year, then decided to accept an offer from Pride as assistant general counsel.

He recalls being drawn to the “vibrant feel” of the company, at the time just starting to come off of some tough times from prior years. “It was obviously a dynamic company that was positioned for vast improvements in its governance and management practices, as well as its financial position,” Mr Long said. “I was fortunate enough to witness the transformation of the company.”

That turnaround, including the sale of the land rig fleet, spin-off of the mat-supported jackups, various other divestitures and acquisitions, plus newbuild construction projects, culminated in the company’s acquisition by Ensco, announced in early 2011. That transaction was completed at the end of May, capping months of hectic merger-related activities for Mr Long and his legal team.

Now, he hopes to spend the coming year growing into the new organization and determining the best way to serve the company and its people. He doesn’t expect significant changes in his day-to-day responsibilities, however: advising the management team on drilling contracts, navigating through disputes, sorting through regulatory issues, advising the board on executive compensation and corporate governance, and managing high-stakes litigation, for example.

Ethics and Corporate Compliance

In 2007, challenges associated with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) had emerged within the drilling industry that appeared to elevate everyone’s compliance sensitivities. Am I in compliance? If not, how do I get there? were questions that everyone was asking.

“I was on vacation when it occurred to me that IADC had committees for a lot of significant topics like HSE, contracts and tax, but I wondered why it doesn’t have a committee for ethics and corporate compliance. All the factors were there. We had a common interest, and we certainly had an incentive. … Although we all have different management practices and styles, we were dealing with the same problems, and we all wanted to do the right thing,” Mr Long said. “We needed to share our resources in a more effective way so we could learn from each other and thus improve our compliance records.”

The idea for such a committee took hold quickly, and the IADC Ethics and Corporate Compliance Committee was established in 2007. “We collectively agreed it was time. I was very pleased to see that IADC embraced it, and a number of members embraced it very quickly as well. They immersed themselves in the antibribery community, and we’ve had very strong participation ever since our inaugural meeting in September 2007.”

As chairman of the committee since its inception, Mr Long said he’s also pleased to see the drilling industry enhancing its reputation on this front and believes it will only continue to do so.

“The FCPA is not a static thing; it’s dynamic. There are new rules and settlements and enforcement actions you have to stay on top of, so it’s a never-ending pursuit,” he said. “I think most chief compliance officers in our industry are pleased with where we are today, but we recognize we need to continue to push very hard to maintain our momentum.”

For more information on the IADC Ethics & Corporate Compliance Committee, including a meeting schedule, please go online to www.iadc.org.

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