Neil Dean, former Chairman of the IADC Australasian Chapter, passed away on 22 June 2018 in Adelaide, Australia, after a long battle with cancer.
Mr Dean started his career in Australia’s onshore drilling industry in the early 1970s as a roughneck for Oil Drilling & Exploration (now part of Ensign Energy Services) in the Surat Basin in eastern Australia. His career would span more than 30 years, taking him all over Australia and the world. One of his last “adventures” was managing two rigs in Libya during the Arab Spring uprising. He managed to get his crews out safely and was last to leave himself – the rigs had to fend for themselves – not much was left when they returned.
During his time in the drilling industry, Mr Dean witnessed many of the same challenges that the industry faces today. In an address to the IADC Australasian Chapter annual general meeting in 2001, he recounted the struggles of trying to retain skilled personnel as rig utilization remained low but oil prices stayed high, while waiting for drilling activity to pick up. A previous downturn and recovery in oil prices had left E&P companies uncertain over whether to drill, but drilling contractors sensed the boom was coming. When it arrived in late 2000, it brought challenges such as shortages of new equipment parts, increased pressure on drilling companies to train the huge influx of green hands and trying to keep experienced workers from being poached by other companies. Mr Dean also spoke of the need to attract younger workers to the drilling industry, expand IADC’s membership base and ensure the organization was adequately represented on committees, associations and advisory bodies involved in changing regulations and standards that impacted industry from a safety and operations perspective.
Mr Dean is survived by his wife, Alexis.