By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor
Drilling industry experts, leaders and innovators from around the world gathered in London this week to kick off the 2015 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference. With more than 1,600 people registered, the event is once again proving to be a valuable forum for the industry to connect, collaborate and create. “Important to both IADC and SPE alike is solving our industry’s critical issues, even in the middle of the current downturn,” 2015 IADC Chairman Ed Jacob said during the conference’s opening session on 17 March.
As IADC turns 75 this year, the association has continued to provide a collective voice for the drilling industry and to advocate on members’ behalf with global regulatory regimes – regardless of market cycles. “We’ve been through this before, and we’ll come out of it again,” Mr Jacob said. “The rapid pace of change within our industry continues, and we strive to develop solutions that will propel us into the future.”
Mr Jacob also urged the industry to keep the safety of its people at the forefront, despite current economic difficulties. “A workforce that is properly trained and educated is invaluable. Over the last decade, we’ve built momentum and made huge strides in safety and training. Ensuring that our people have the training they need to succeed is crucial if we wish to maintain our ability to access the world’s reserves.”
At IADC, multiple initiatives are under way to catalyze improved performance. The Workforce Attraction and Development Initiative (WADI), launched in 2012, is now preparing to issue certificates to the first WADI graduating class. The Knowledge, Skill and Ability competencies are seeing increased uptake across the industry, and the Safety Toolbox has been launched to put critical safety-related tools directly in the hands of the rig crew. Further, new editions of the IADC Drilling Manual and IADC Deepwater Well Control Guidelines were recently issued.
In addition to these technical and training resources, the association is launching a social media campaign as one way to engage with the new generation of talent in the industry. “We need to provide a seat at the table for our young professionals and get them involved, both through SPE and IADC,” Mr Jacob said.
Also speaking at the opening session, Jan Brakel, Chairman of the 2015 Drilling Conference, highlighted the drilling industry’s responsibility to drive further innovations. “This conference is all about learning and sharing… We have been driving continuous improvement, but there are still opportunities to do better,” he said. “The general public has an expectation for our industry. They expect us to deliver and maintain wells that produce oil and gas. The world will need oil and gas for many years to come, despite the advances in renewable energy. We cannot do without hydrocarbons, so our role is to help produce and help find this oil and gas in a cost-effective manner with due regard to our environment and to the safety and well being of our workforce.”