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BOEM holds lease sale 256, proposes new sale for March The US Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) announced that region-wide Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 256, held 18 November, generated $120,868,274 in high bids for 93 tracts covering 517,733 acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A total of 23 companies participated in the lease sale, submitting $135,558,336 in total bids. Lease Sale 256 included 14,862 unleased blocks located from 3 to 231 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern Planning Areas in water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 ft. Lease Sale 256, livestreamed from New Orleans, was the seventh offshore sale held under the 2017-2022 National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and ...

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Facing a glum market outlook, offshore drilling contractors must embrace bold thinking to survive

Noble’s Robert Eifler: Automation, digitalization, and collaboration between operators and contractors offer best opportunities for performance improvement By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor Robert Eifler is President and CEO of Noble Corp.  Looking across your entire rig fleet, what do you see as the biggest challenges that you face as a drilling contractor? Certainly, 2020 was a year where we faced several major challenges, some more near-term and others more long-term. COVID-19 has been an unbelievable challenge for our business and our industry. For one, you have to deal with the logistical challenges of trying to run a global business in the midst of this pandemic. We have, by and large, kept our rigs running, but it’s taken a Herculean effort ...

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Remote operating centers leverage smart tools, automation to boost efficiency, facilitate collaboration

Industry continues efforts to advance remote technologies to improve drilling, geosteering and wireline operations, unlock greater efficiencies from the rig site By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor As the oil and gas industry navigates difficult economic terrain and seeks systems for improving efficiencies, remote systems and real-time operating centers (RTOCs) may be at the center of a paradigm shift. However, in order to realize greater operational efficiencies, operators and drilling contractors will likely have to invest in tools that can enable greater collaboration. At Helmerich and Payne (H&P), remote operations have been an area of focus for years, and Trey Adams, Vice President of H&P, said they are critical for drilling contractors seeking to drill consistent, high- quality and lower-cost wells. “As ...

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‘Smart evolution’ enabling efficient remote operations and better use of rig data will be the way forward

Nabors’ Miguel Sanchez: Pandemic accelerated industry’s appetite for digitalization and automation, but companies must remain disciplined with investments  By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Miguel Sanchez is Vice President of International Operations for Nabors. He also served as IADC’s Division VP International Onshore from 2019-2020. Nabors has a large international fleet operating in multiple markets around the world. So when you look at that rig fleet, what do you see as the biggest challenges that you face today as a drilling contractor? When it comes to challenges, the biggest one is uncertainty around the oil price. We know it fell to very low levels last year because of the pandemic and its repercussions on energy consumption, plus the price war ...

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Workforce competency, multi-skilling will be key to success as companies seek ways to do more with less

Parker Drilling’s Sandy Esslemont: Machines, technology, data will all be critical, but step changes must also be supported by drilling crews with versatile skills By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Sandy Esslemont is President and CEO of Parker Drilling. Looking across your entire rig fleet, what do you see as the biggest challenges that you face as a drilling contractor? During the pandemic, the biggest challenge has probably been the movement of people. Parker is a global contractor, with the vast majority of our revenue coming from outside of the US, so we’re constantly moving people around. It does help that we have a fairly significant localization program. However, as rigs have been stacked and crews are laid down, it’s been ...

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Industry consolidation could shift offshore rig supply/demand, trigger transformation in business model

Seadrill’s Stuart Jackson: Addressing market imbalance can encourage operators to give drillers more revenue visibility, lead to more investments in rigs, ESG By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor Stuart Jackson is CEO of Seadrill. The past year has been difficult for drilling contractors, to say the least. How would you gauge global market sentiment within the industry right now? It’s a tough market. We’ve got the ongoing operational issue of COVID-19 – the practical aspects of keeping a business running, the logistics of getting people on and off rigs, and making sure they quarantine and meet testing requirements. All of that adds more difficulty to day-to-day operations. And then you need to overlay the market itself, which is tough when you talk ...

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Industrialized processes, scale efficiencies can mitigate high cost variability of shale wells, lower risks

Precision Drilling’s Gene Stahl: Drilling contractors can help operators improve cost efficiency of unconventional projects through consistency, repeatability By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor Gene Stahl is Chief Marketing Officer at Precision Drilling. He also serves on the IADC Executive Committee. We had a difficult year in 2020 with COVID-19 and the downturn. How would you gauge the US onshore drilling market? Everybody’s been through a roller coaster, going from 800 rigs to a low of around 250 – an unprecedented drop. We’ve seen the oil price recover somewhat since then and stabilize in the mid-$40s range. We’ve also seen natural gas prices move up, and we’re seeing the onshore rig count work its way toward 400 rigs. Things have somewhat recovered, ...

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New industry-backed council aims to make energy ESG disclosures more relevant for all stakeholders

Group is developing disclosure framework based on metrics that are truly material to sustainability, plans Q1 launch of database and reporting guidance  By Jessica Whiteside, contributor Building a repository of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data that reflects the sustainability of companies across the energy sector is a key ambition of the Houston-based Energy ESG Council.  The nonprofit council, formed December 2019, is backed by board and advisory support from the investment community and several oil and gas-related trade associations, including IADC. Its mission is to create clarity for executive teams, investors, lenders, insurers, regulators and other stakeholders about which ESG attributes are truly material to a company’s long-term viability in the energy sector. “There is an opportunity to create ...

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Industry must focus on ESG, find ways to rebrand itself in a changing world

I’m not quite sure where to start with this moment of reflection on 2021 and my role as Chairman for IADC.  First, it is an honor to represent drilling contractors around the world. I can assure the membership that I will endeavor to lead the association so that it continues to provide appropriate and responsible advocacy and membership support that forwards and elevates our industry in these challenged times.  Having been in this business since graduating engineering school in the late ’70s, and having managed to get through a few downturns while maintaining some sense of sanity, one thing I can assure the membership is that this association is full of survivors and innovators. No doubt about that!  Member companies ...

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Recovery will not mean a return to the status quo

By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher 2020 is now behind us, but the downturn that began early last year continues to sting. It stings when you still see friends and industry colleagues lose their jobs, negatively impacting the welfare of their families. It stings when you see good companies go into bankruptcy because they simply have no other options. It also stings when you see perfectly good drilling rigs, many of which were built for hundreds of millions of dollars and could’ve been used for decades more to extract the energy resources this world needs, being forced into obsolescence. Of course, there are glimmers of hope on the horizon as we embark on the new year. Some countries have begun ...

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