By Joanne Liou, editorial coordinator
The industry needs to strengthen its ability to collaborate across all segments, and the 2012 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference offers that opportunity to explore together the challenges we face every day, Dan Rabun, 2012 IADC chairman and chairman, president and CEO of Ensco, said in welcoming attendants to the joint IADC/SPE conference in San Diego, Calif., on 6 March. “By bringing these two organizations together, we create a unique cross section representing both operators and drilling contractors,” he said.
As the industry continues to grow more complex and face tougher challenges, public scrutiny is unavoidable; however, a relationship of trust between operators and drilling contractors is key so that both can gain more public trust and understanding. “As an industry, we’ve learned some of our greatest lessons about earning and losing public trust here in California,” Mr Rabun said. Recalling the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, he noted the public outrage and environmental movement that followed.
However, between San Diego and Santa Barbara lies a powerful reminder of what the industry can achieve. “In Los Angeles, where onshore drilling has been conducted continuously since 1880, today there are 3,700 active oil wells in Los Angeles County coexisting peacefully with 10 million people,” Mr Rabun said. What’s the difference between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles? Trust. “Trust is earned by decades of safe, environmentally conscious and sustainable operations,” he said.
“In Los Angeles County, the industry has maintained an admirable safety record and worked hand-in- hand with energy and environmental groups,” he continued. “The coexistence hadn’t been free of incidence, but the various interests have been able to sit down at the table and resolve their differences.” California’s history emphasizes the importance of the relationship between operators and drillers, which needs to be established on a foundation of trust before they can look to gain the same from the public. “We start building trust and relationships between the operators and the drillers. Both of us put the safety of the people, property and environment, first and foremost, then together we can work to build trust with the public.”
A single operational failure and mistakes can wipe out years of success, but a collaborative effort can restore and even surpass the successes of the past. “We can seize this opportunity to hold ourselves to higher competency standards,” Mr Rabun said. “We can make this industry better and create more success stories both onshore and offshore, then we really will live up to the theme of this conference: create a new day for our industry.”