Drilling Ahead: Collaboration reaps benefits for industry

By Mike Killalea, Editor & Publisher

Suddenly we stand at the fifth anniversary of the Macondo tragedy – a huge wakeup call. Industry has since worked feverishly and collaboratively to ensure that the 11 who lost their lives on 20 April 2010 will not have died in vain. Drilling operations, technology, practices and standards have taken step-changes in improvement since.

“At IADC, there was a real recognition that when it comes to our rigs, our people and our equipment, we must ensure our ability to drill safely, cleanly and efficiently so this doesn’t happen again,” IADC President/CEO Stephen Colville said at an April joint press conference with API and NOIA.


This issue rolls out IADC’s latest initiative for improving drilling safety. The new WellSharp well control training program has replaced our longstanding WellCAP program, supplanting it with a number of enhancements.

The philosophy behind WellCAP was that proper training produces competent rig crews. The program centered on operations and task-oriented skills.

Under WellSharp, we have expanded this vision to also include incident prevention and well management; greater risk awareness and assessment; understanding of additional barriers outside the BOP; and new technology and terms related to new drilling operations enabled by new equipment and capabilities.

“WellSharp represents a reliable and trustworthy set of training standards,” Mark Denkowski, IADC Executive Vice President-Operational Integrity, said. “It will be a standard you can trust and one that is internationally consistent.”

The new program, Mr Denkowski stresses, is not simply a revamp of WellCAP but is a “complete root and branch rebuild.” Please see Page 20 for a detailed article on WellSharp.

Good news on people

This is my fifth downturn since beginning my oily career in 1981. Several of my fellow gray hairs are enduring their sixth. My first – beginning a year after I hired on – nearly dismembered industry’s rejuvenation process, ushering in the Era of No Hiring. For more than a decade, dire markets forbade most hiring. We skipped nearly a generation of  bright young people, a development rare, if not unique, in the annals of industrial history.

Many have sadly lost jobs thanks to today’s turbulence. But, unlike the 1980s, today’s turmoil has not eliminated workforce attraction and development. Evidence? Check the article on Page 24. IADC’s Workforce Attraction and Development Initiative (WADI) kicked off two years ago as a collaboration between IADC members and three Texas community colleges. In the time since, WADI has leapfrogged onto the global stage. This spring, WADI was the centerpiece of events in both Brazil and Malta. In Malta, students earned the very first WADI certificates.

Collaboration is key

WADI is one example of collaboration among industry stakeholders. There are many others, and this is a huge outgrowth of Macondo. Call it the silver lining.

The Well Control Institute (WCI) is a prime example. The product of collaboration spanning the spectrum of industry stakeholders, WCI recognizes that well control is the industry’s greatest challenge in process safety. Chaired by Moe Plaisance, WCI provides a forum to develop well control initiatives and work products.

Business is business, and competition a given. IADC members, whether operators, contractors, service firms or manufacturers, are fiercely competitive in the marketplace. When it comes to HSE and well control, however, setting aside commercial rivalries is paradoxically the best route to prosperity. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Mike Killalea can be reached via email at mike.killalea@iadc.org.

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