Home / News / Whys & Wherefores of the IADC/SPE partnership: fun facts to know and tell

The partnership between IADC and the Society of Petroleum Engineers has served the industry well as sponsors of the premier events for the drilling/completion industry. But how did it evolve? For those enquiring minds hungry for insight, here is a brief synopsis.

In the beginning, there was the annual IADC Rotary Drilling Conference, launched in 1964 and held each September. In 1977, IADC revamped the format and held the first IADC Spring Driling Technology Conference. Meanwhile, SPE covered drilling technology at its Annual Technical Conference, OTC and, biannually, at the SPE Deep Drilling Symposium.

Whys & Wherefores of the IADC/SPE partnership: fun facts to know and tell

The two organizations came together to launch the first IADC/SPE Drilling Conference in 1983. Held in New Orleans, it drew 1,800 registrants and 42 papers. Originally, the event was to be held biannually, but due to its success, the conference has been held each year since 1985. From 1985 to 1989, the Drilling Conference rotated between New Orleans and Dallas. It has been held only once in Houston (1990).

The next big milestone came in 1991, which saw the event’s European debut. The 1991 conference in Amsterdam drew more than 1,000 registrants, and 95 papers were presented.

The Drilling Conference has alternated between Amsterdam and the US ever since. And the name changes ever so slightly, as well. In even-numbered years, it is the “IADC/SPE Drilling Conference,” and in odd-numbered years, the “SPE/IADC Drilling Conference.”

Typical attendance these days is around 1,700-1,800.

Reaching out to the regions

The next big milestone was creation of the two regional IADC/SPE drilling events. This came about as the brainchild of IADC president Dr Lee Hunt and then SPE director-Europe Hugo Black.

The first was the 1996 IADC/SPE Asia Pacific Drilling Technology Conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 1997, the SPE/IADC Middle East Drilling Technology Conference made its debut in Bahrain.

SPE and IADC have also collaborated on underbalanced drilling conferences, and currently co-sponsor the annual IADC/SPE Underbalanced Operations & Managed Pressure Drilling Conference.

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