By Jason McFarland, IADC President
As this edition of Drilling Contractor magazine goes to press, world governments are debating the safest ways to open their countries back up after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the global economy and as the disease continues to threaten human lives around the world.
The pandemic’s impact on the oil and gas industry has been catastrophic as well, putting oil markets in chaos and sending the price of oil tumbling. In this environment, it can be hard to find the right words to say to IADC’s members, as so much of the news we are bombarded with every day is negative.
However, even amid these unprecedented circumstances, I have seen glimmers of hope. IADC members, in ways large and small, are showing up and giving back to the global community, donating supplies from idle rigs and providing support to medical professionals on the front lines, and even developing innovative strategies to keep workers safe. Watching our industry spring into action before the full scale of the pandemic was understood, and working together to solve issues related to crew change and transport, among others, has been inspiring.
This same spirit surfaced just as intensely in April 2010 when 11 crew members were lost during the tragic Macondo well incident, an event that also necessitated an urgent response from our industry. In the 10 years since then, this industry has committed itself to ensuring that the sacrifice of those 11 men is not forgotten.
An unprecedented level of collaboration to research and understanding the failures that contributed to the incident has resulted in meaningful changes, new technologies, and operating systems and programs that address both equipment and safety culture. The changes that resulted from the Macondo well incident have made our industry safer for everyone working within it today.
Since the very beginning of our industry, an eye toward innovation and solving difficult problems with a practical and measured approach have been our hallmarks. Whether aggressively addressing safety issues, introducing new processes and equipment or responding to a global pandemic, this industry has proven that, when the situation demands it, we work together to implement solutions.
I recognize that many IADC members are struggling right now. In this time of uncertainty, IADC continues to stand with you, as we have through countless industry challenges. While I can’t predict when the market will rebound, and by how much, what I do know is that the world is literally run by the energy this industry provides. And that demand will return as COVID-19 and the devastation it has wrought fades away – hopefully this will happen quickly as we return to our normal lives.
Until then, IADC is continuing to pull together information on COVID-19 and its impact on oil and gas operations on our website. It’s a resource where you can access the latest in regulatory guidance from around the world, along with helpful information shared by other industry associations and groups.
While we are physically apart right now, there are myriad ways for each of us to connect through technology. For assistance, please reach out to me or any of our IADC staff via email, phone, social media or through our website.
I hope to see all of you in person again soon, whether at our Houston headquarters, at the rescheduled World Drilling Conference in Paris in December, or during a committee meeting in the US or abroad.
As the situation is changing rapidly, please check IADC’s website for communications regarding conferences and meetings. I’m certain that all of you – like me – look forward to the day when we can be together in the same room, networking and learning together.
I believe that this industry will emerge from our current challenges stronger. Until we can meet again, stay safe and stay well. DC