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January/February

Drilling Ahead: Boom/bust: Nothing new under the sun

The reviews are in, and this is the worst downturn since the 1980s. After the baby bust of 2008-09, it was easy to think, “This too shall pass.” But, as one frustrated exec told me on the cusp of the Great Downturn, “We worked every angle from the 2009 playbook, but nothing succeeded.” During the 2009 downturn, gas went flat as swollen inventories cratered prices. But liquids and crude prices still soared. We don’t have an escape route this time.

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Investments in innovation, people, technology must go on, even as market realities set in

These challenges are twofold. The first challenge is continuing to reduce our cost of operations. The second challenge is operational. This is an industry that requires experience and concentration to operate efficiently and safely, and I think the challenge for our leadership is to make sure that our teams aren’t distracted by the downsizing and the downturn.

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Perspectives: Dennis Moore, Marathon Oil, hopes GOM MPD project will demonstrate technology’s potential in deepwater applications

In the upstream oil and gas industry, deeper and more challenging wells require that engineers seek ways to drill these wells more safely and efficiently. In 2015, Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips collaborated to drill the first deepwater well in the GOM using managed pressure drilling (MPD) with a subsea BOP system.

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Ambrose: 2016 Drilling Conference to provide resources, perspectives on how to navigate difficult market

Drilling industry experts will address how companies can maintain productivity and continue improvements in operational efficiency at the 2016 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference, 1-3 March in Fort Worth, Texas. “It comes down to understanding how to navigate this market successfully,” Conference Chairman Bill Ambrose said. Mr Ambrose is Senior Vice President of Technical Services at Transocean. “The more people understand what is happening in this market – what the drivers of it are – the better they are going to be able to position their company to come out of it in good shape.”

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D&C News

BSEE to launch pilot risk-based inspection program for offshore facilities The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is launching a pilot risk-based inspection program that will use a systematic approach, relying on both a quantitative model and qualitative performance and risk-related data. “By focusing on facilities based upon their risk factors, BSEE can more efficiently and effectively manage limited inspection and audit resources,” BSEE Director Brian Salerno said. “Risk factors include design, operating and environmental characteristics of the facility, which may correlate to a greater likelihood of experiencing an incident. However, it does not mean that the facility has a bad safety record or is a poor safety performer, only that certain risk factors are present that must ...

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People, Companies and Products

Weatherford Secure Drilling Services and Maersk Training have entered a strategic partnership to enhance scenario-based training and competency for critical wells. The training will provide Weatherford, operator and rig-crew personnel with improved preparation to help prevent well control events and nonproductive time.

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News Cuttings

David Williams, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Noble Corp, has been recognized as 2015 IADC Contractor of the Year. Accepting his award on 6 November at the 2015 IADC Annual General Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, Mr Williams thanked all the people he has worked with during his career, noting that he has learned something from everyone.

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Wirelines

On 1 December, IADC commented on the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing with respect to discussions on both the well control rule and the Arctic rule from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

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For shale business to survive, employees must think like owners, orient organizational culture to the bottom line

What do you see as the most critical challenges facing the upstream side of the oil and gas industry right now? Clearly, the cost issue is front and center. Some people say that you should never waste a good crisis, but to me, it goes beyond that. The margins have shrunk extensively, and we don’t have an option but to respond. We have cut our capital program for US shale from more than $4.5 billion in FY 2013 to about $1.5 billion this year.

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Times are tough in unbalanced market, but industry should recognize, prepare for increasing volatility as the new norm

What do you consider to be the biggest challenges that drilling contractors face at the moment? The biggest challenge is simply rig rates. During downturns like this, just trying to stay alive and make it to the other side of this cycle is the No. 1 concern. Aging rig equipment may be an issue with some companies but not with us. About 99% of our rigs have been built new since 2006. Do you think the fundamentals of the industry are still good?

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