Our industry is facing a range of challenges, most notably low oil prices, and a drastic reduction in rig counts globally offshore and onshore. All indicators point to a tough market situation through this year. It is a difficult time to be in this industry. And yet, for some of us, we’ve been here before. I’ve been in this industry for a long time. I’ve survived six downturns. What I learned during those cycles is that our industry will, and must, come out stronger.
In this down-cycle, as with the ones previously, we all share the same struggles. It is deceptively easy to succumb to the pressures of the market and choose to take shortcuts or make business decisions that seem to be the easiest and less expensive but become “stepping over dollars to pick up nickels.”
In the end, this thinking and behavior will not provide positive results. While down here in the weeds, it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to see the upturn that is undoubtedly in our future. But taking the long view and acting in our future best interests is critical to ensure future success.
We have made remarkable progress with regard to gaining efficiencies by focusing on processes and procedures. The evolution and implementation of drilling technology, rig technology, safety management systems and production technology, among others, have created and driven efficiencies that we have all experienced and led us on a path of energy efficiency and independence.
It is far better to seek cost savings in our operations than to short-change our staff on training and safety. It’s a point I have made before and will continue to make throughout this year of my chairmanship because I believe it’s that critically important.
IADC is also investing in training and safety, making it easy for members to access credible, high-value training and assessment programs at rates lower than those of commercial competitors. The new WellSharp well control training program (see Page 20) is a complete revision of the former WellCAP program and is now specifically targeted to every employee with well control responsibilities, whether office-based or rig-based. The training program is rigorous, with content for prevention, situational awareness, barriers and risk awareness and management.
The IADC Deepwater Well Control Guidelines and IADC Drilling Manual have both received complete revisions and updates to include information representing the latest technologies. These critical manuals are essential resources for rig personnel and are available in a variety of formats, ensuring simple access to needed information.
Our association is also developing programs that address overall workforce competency and focus on attracting the next generation into our industry. The policy, government and regulatory affairs group is working to ensure that the competitiveness of the drilling sector is not threatened by inappropriate or unnecessarily burdensome regulation. IADC is investing in these, for us, as we get on with the work of navigating our day-to-day work.
Our world turns on the energy that we produce. It is our duty to produce that energy as safely, cleanly and efficiently as possible, regardless of the market situation. I urge all of us to stay the course, because if history is any indication, the next upturn is in our very near future.