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January/February

Taking industrial, rule-based approach to drilling can improve repeatability, aid deepwater project economics

Total’s Xavier Rouzeaud: Digital applications also hold significant potential, but they must be designed from the rig, for the rig and support people on the rig By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Xavier Rouzeaud is Deputy VP Drilling & Wells for Total. What is the biggest challenge that you see on the horizon for the drilling sector of the oil and gas industry? There is not a single challenge but multiple challenges, and one of the biggest is finding ways to be successful in an unpredictable oil price environment and a fast-changing world. We are being affected not only by market forces but also by the evolution of society’s expectations in terms of energy and the climate. We must be resilient and ...

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Drilling industry must do more to publicize environmental stewardship, position itself as part of the solution

Ensign’s Sean Halloran: Companies also must seek ways to use growing volumes of data and extract value in real time, provide more holistic view of wellbore By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Sean Halloran is Vice President of Wellsite Technology for Ensign Energy Services. Looking across your rig fleet, what do you see as the biggest challenges that you face as a rig contractor? When we talk internally about challenges, the biggest one we’re looking at right now is this idea of climate change and how it’s affecting our business, as well as the industry in general. We recognize that shareholders want to see more of a carbon-neutral investment. As drilling contractors, we’re really good at making holes in the ground, but ...

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Industry set to see surge in water recycling and reuse, with benefits on cost, environmental impact

Increasing adoption of automation also leading to opportunities to optimize water transfers by reducing fuel and personnel requirements By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher As oil and gas companies continue to seek ways to reduce costs while working to step up their environmental stewardship, water recycling and reuse for fracturing remains a significant but under-tapped opportunity. In 2019, oil and gas production resulted in approximately 24 billion barrels of produced and flowback water in the US, but only approximately 5% of that amount was recycled and reused, according to Dean Fanguy, Director of Business Development for TETRA Technologies. “The No. 1 thing that operators can do to reduce water management costs is to recycle more water,” Mr Fanguy said. Whether ...

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Performance, engineering for safety and environmental impact among top considerations for next newbuilds

KCA Deutag’s Simon Drew: Rig availability may soon be challenged in some markets, but improved ROI will be needed to incentivize fleet additions By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Simon Drew is President of Land Drilling for KCA Deutag. What do you see as the most critical challenges as you look across your fleet of 70-plus land rigs? Over the past few years, we have been especially focused on enhancing our brand by adding value for, and reducing the total well cost of, the customer. The challenge is how to do that in a downturn, where so much focus is on pricing. But with that said, I think we have made progress in overcoming this challenge. We do see interest in technologies ...

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To attract and keep young talent, drilling companies must pave career path, provide tools for advancement

Independence Contract Drilling’s Anthony Gallegos: Industry will also have to embrace focus on returns instead of growth in order to attract, retain investors By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Anthony Gallegos is President and CEO of Independence Contract Drilling (ICD). Looking at the 30-plus rigs in ICD’s fleet, what do you see as the biggest challenges that you face as a land rig contractor? It’s not unique to ICD, but the biggest challenge today is the workforce – attracting, developing and retaining a skilled and motivated workforce. A lot of young people today don’t necessarily want to go into an industry like ours, where it can be very labor intensive. You work in the elements, and the work sites are often in ...

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Measuring gaps in time, productivity can address flat spots along critical path, ensure optimal rig performance

Pacific Drilling’s Bernie Wolford: Drilling/tripping times matter, but industry can realize significant benefits by looking more closely at what happens in between By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Bernie Wolford is CEO of Pacific Drilling. Looking across your rig fleet, what do you see as the biggest challenges that offshore rig contractors now face? Of course, the market remains very challenging from a demand perspective, although 2019 was an improvement and 2020 is poised to be even better. For Pacific Drilling, the biggest challenge is maintaining discipline in our approach to the market as it relates to the ramp-up of our smart-stacked rigs. We must be disciplined in the way we rationalize bringing assets back to the market. A related challenge is ...

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Use of tools like barriers, nets and pouches can help to mitigate risk of dropped object incidents in offshore drilling operations

By Mike Rice, Dropsafe The Oil & Gas industry has been through a few years of low prices and fluctuations in rig utilization. However, even as drilling contractors face depressed dayrates, they must maintain focus on improving operational efficiency and safety. This encompasses continually enhancing safety standards and adopting innovative technologies. One of the biggest safety hazards in drilling operations is the risk of dropped objects. In recent years, many drilling contractors have taken pioneering steps to mitigate drops. This has primarily been seen through the installation of drops prevention technologies, including secondary retention devices and barrier systems on drilling rigs and other facilities where employees might work at height. Drops incidents are still occurring globally, however, with significant impact ...

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Industry steps up engagement with young talent via outreach through schools, rig tours, IADC

Connecting with new generations, helping them understand what drilling industry does and how, will be critical to workforce development By Jay Stracke, Editorial Assistant For years, the drilling industry has known that the great crew change was approaching. But now, it’s evident that the crew change is no longer looming; it is here. A new generation of workers are filling our ranks, both on rigs and in offices around the world. “We’re here, we’re hungry, and we’re eager to learn and develop,” Garrett Reinert, Co-Chairman of the IADC Young Professionals Committee, said. Mr Reinert also serves as Assistant to Senior Manager – Operations for Valaris. How successful the industry will be in developing and retaining the young people we’ve already ...

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Jerome Schubert, Texas A&M University: Recognition that there’s always more to learn drives passion for research, academics

By Jay Stracke, Editorial Assistant In the drilling business, it is important to understand that, however much knowledge one person may have, there are always other people who know a great deal more. To admit that you do not know everything, but at the same time have a willingness to learn, is an attitude that has served Dr Jerome Schubert well through his career. And it is this same attitude that has driven him to his current role as Associate Professor within the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum at Texas A&M University. “If you get on the rig and admit that you don’t know a lot, they will do everything in the world to keep you out of trouble. And ...

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Frac fluid disclosures and water testing: Unique state requirements preclude one-size-fits-all strategy

State-to-state inconsistency means operators must seek careful balance between protecting trade secrets and compliance with disclosure regulations By Lara D. Pringle, Litigation Practice Group and Jones Walker LLP It’s no secret that, along with the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing in the US, concerns about water quality and potential water contamination have risen among the general public. While available evidence shows that hydraulic fracturing rarely causes contamination of groundwater, state regulators have taken note of public interest in this area and have developed regulatory regimes requiring industry action. Baseline testing and mandatory fluid disclosures can help the industry to avoid or resolve disputes regarding groundwater contamination and reassure the public that the risk of potential environmental impacts is low. On ...

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