Editorial: IADC’s multi-pronged approach to ESG spans technology, training, regulator engagement

By Jason McFarland, IADC President

Jason McFarland, IADC President

ESG has been a key focus area over the past year. Proposed legislative bills, news articles and white papers continue to draw attention to the topic. For IADC and its members, sustainability is at the core of many efforts. 


Drillers are always being asked to do more with less. That’s why IADC believes in cultivating an ecosystem of continuous improvement. Our upcoming Advanced Rig Technology Conference in October will focus on the industry’s latest technical and technological innovations. Industrywide digitization and standardization provides ample opportunity for members to get the most out of their people, their equipment and their supply chains. Simultaneously, a real step-change in collaboration will be needed today to prepare for tomorrow’s transformation of the energy landscape.

With the rapid rate of innovation across the industry, the automated rigs of tomorrow need to be built today. That’s why the quarterly Technology Forums organized by the IADC Drilling Engineers Committee are an important venue for the industry to discuss the latest paradigm shifts, be it remote operations centers, geothermal drilling challenges or performance limiters.

Additionally, our Advanced Rig Technology Committee is putting together a new team to focus on ESG-related items like energy efficiency, fuel consumption and alternative fuels. While it’s important for our people and our industry to continually come up with new ideas about how to drill more efficiently, we need to make sure those ideas align well with overall strategies on emissions reductions.


Drillers are always focused on their people. As an international trade association, this means creating opportunities for the industry to succeed. From our various conferences throughout the year to our committee meetings happening every month, IADC’s structure affords our members many different ways to engage with their fellow colleagues in the industry.

Despite the fact we missed sitting shoulder to shoulder at the normal slate of conferences last year, the remote, virtual setting allowed our student chapters from all over the world to attend technical conferences they would have otherwise been unable to experience. 

Further, IADC’s virtual training platform born out of social distancing requirements has provided opportunities for numerous students to complete their WellSharp certification absent the traditional classroom setting. This proactive engagement and creativity highlight the association’s tradition of sharing our passion, wisdom and drive with the next generation. This commitment to the younger generation is what has kept the industry going for all these years.

The digitalization of IADC’s training platforms bridges not just space but also time, with a fully rolled-out KREW, IADC’s new online-learning platform. Providing our workforce with well control training on their time empowers the learner. As our workforce progresses in their individual journeys of continuous learning, the industry as a whole will reap the benefits.

This focus on the individual learner means not only our job sites will be safer and more secure but so will our people in their on-the-job knowledge.


Drillers are always focused on doing the job right. IADC has a seat in IOGP’s EU Committee and several of its subcommittees. This EU Committee is responsible for a large number of proposals under the growing tent of EU’s Green Deal, 40 of which may impact the oil and gas industry, with 15 proposals potentially impacting the drilling industry directly. 

While the EU debates which proposals make the final cut, the IADC Sustainability Committee cuts right to the chase with its newly formed workgroup. This workgroup is tasked with developing ESG reporting guidance for drilling contractors, collaborating across their robust 15-plus company participation and incorporating input from numerous standards and ratings agencies.

In July, the IADC Tax Committee hosted a roundtable discussion with US Rep. Kevin Brady from Texas’s 8th Congressional District. As a Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Brady sat down with various finance and tax professionals from both operators and contractors to discuss important issues like the 28% corporate rate hike, the Base Erosion and Anti-abuse Tax, 15% minimum tax on book income, and changes to tax policies governing multinational corporations.

Additionally, IADC has been producing a video series to discuss energy policy with federal and state policymakers. While some of our members live and breathe these policy discussions, providing access to individuals on the front lines is invaluable to companies without the bandwidth to cull those critical topics.

Whether it’s doing more with less, keeping people safe or making sure we’re part of the conversation, IADC’s approach to any ESG discussion is one filled with excitement and hope. In our industry’s motivation to ensure a sustainable energy supply for the world, we want to focus on new ESG ideas that are both possible and probable. DC

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