From the President: With eyes on a better future, IADC forges ahead with student chapters, advocacy

Jason McFarland, IADC President
Jason McFarland, IADC President

Despite the prolonged downturn, we at IADC are optimistic for the future. Since the first of the year, I have visited with many of our members around the world. What has struck me during these meetings is how much positive impact our members are having on our industry.

During a downturn, the inclination is to retrench and focus on getting the job done. While cost reduction is important, I continue to see a significant focus on training and improving operational performance. The ways in which IADC members have come together to move our industry forward is inspiring. It makes me proud to be a part of this dynamic organization.

As an association, we also continue to look to the future and recognize that engaging with those just beginning their careers helps ensure the longevity of our industry.

This year has seen the establishment of the first IADC student chapter, at Texas A&M University. At the IADC Drilling Onshore Conference in May, Zack Aldelamy, Chairman of the A&M Chapter and a petroleum engineering major in his junior year, addressed the conference attendees and discussed the goals of the student chapter. It was impressive to hear this well-spoken young man describe the chapter’s ambitious plans.

His excitement is shared by students at other universities,. Our Executive Committee has approved the establishment of five additional student chapters by the end of 2017, and we have no shortage of interested schools and students. Students are motivated to engage with our industry before graduation, and anything that we can do to facilitate that engagement will benefit our industry.

Another way in which IADC is engaging with young professionals is through our Gateway accreditation program. IADC partnered with institutions of higher learning to produce Gateway, a training curriculum for employees new to our industry. In June, DrillingContractor.org hosted a Virtual Panel Discussion to talk about how IADC is working to strategically train the industry’s next generation of personnel.

In 2017, we’ve also continued our focus on advocacy. With a goal of serving as an educative resource to members of Congress and federal agencies, IADC has hosted two Washington, DC, fly-ins for our onshore and offshore members. Having a face-to-face connection and frank discussions with those in DC who are tasked with creating and maintaining laws and regulations is incredibly valuable – not only to our members but also to the industry as a whole.

I was able to attend the onshore fly-in in February. I learned that there remains much confusion about the role of the drilling contractor in the well cycle. And these same senators and representatives sometimes had limited awareness of the gains our industry has made with regard to safety and environmental stewardship. I believe that it is our responsibility to positively influence these assumptions. Our consistent engagement with members of Congress can help change the negative narrative that our industry is too often unfairly assigned. In the last edition of this magazine, Mike Garvin from Patterson-UTI gave a first-person account of his attendance at the onshore fly-in. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I encourage you to do so on the Drilling Contractor website.

Our advocacy efforts have also included meetings outside of DC with members of Congress, and we are engaging with regulators and legislators on a local level, as well. Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian will participate in the IADC Shale Energy Workshop in September in Midland, Texas, and our onshore members recently participated in meetings of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

Outside the US, too, we are proactively engaged with regulators and policymakers and have had productive dialogue with the State Supervision of Mines in Holland, EU Commission, ANP in Brazil and CNH in Mexico. Each of these engagements raises the profile of IADC, but they also allow us to bring issues that matter to drilling contractors to the forefront.

As we move into the second half of this year, I think it is valuable to look at what we have accomplished thus far, with an eye toward the future. We have proven that, with limited resources, we are still able to come together to work on items that positively impact our industry.

IADC’s success is directly attributable to the strong engagement and support of our members. I hope that you are as proud as I am of our collective accomplishments and equally hope that it moves you to join us in our effort to catalyze improved performance for the drilling industry. DC

Click here to read Mike Garvin’s guest editorial about the onshore fly-in.

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