2022FeaturesIADC, Regulation, and LegislationNovember/December

IADC spearheads efforts to communicate the value of our industry

From Jason McFarland, IADC President

For IADC and its members, 2022 has been a year of progress. There has been a sense of hope and connection as the world slowly and steadily reopens. This has been a year of looking forward while also taking the time to consider difficult questions about industry challenges and actions we can take to meet those challenges, together. One common theme woven throughout a variety of IADC efforts and events this year is a crucial question – how do we adequately express the importance and necessity of our industry in providing essential services and resources that allow the world, as we know it, to operate?

In the January/February issue of this magazine, 2022 IADC Chairman Jeremy Thigpen stated, “Our industry provides a higher standard of living for billions of people around the world, in so many different ways, but the public doesn’t always understand or appreciate that.” Advocacy and changing the public narrative around oil and gas will also be key to addressing the industry’s next big challenge: attracting and training new talent, he added.

I couldn’t agree more with Mr Thigpen’s sentiments. Raising awareness of these issues at the beginning of his time as Chairman has served as a guiding force, and I’m pleased to say that IADC and its members have made considerable strides in this area over the past year. The challenges our industry faces are not necessarily new, but they will require innovative solutions and unparalleled collaboration. It takes a certain level of willingness to confront these concerns head on and really ask ourselves, “So what will we do about this?” 

The first example that comes to mind is IADC’s Industry Value Initiative (IVI). The IVI workgroup, comprised of nine individuals from member companies, was formed this year and began the difficult task of turning an abstract idea into a discernible mission with tangible goals. The purpose of this project is to find effective and impactful ways to communicate the value of our industry, with special focus on talent recruitment and engagement, capital markets and investors, and public and government affairs. The ultimate goal is to deliver valuable findings and practical resources for our members to use. This project is still in its infancy, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops throughout 2023. 

A couple of months ago, attendees of the IADC Drilling Engineers Committee’s Q3 Tech Forum, titled “The Future of Drilling: Brain Drain Manifesto,” had a very similar conversation. Working in breakout groups, participants devised a list of specific actions that can be taken around key issues like industry branding and perception, using technology to advance industry ambitions and efficiency, engaging the next generation of talent, and more effective collaboration across companies and disciplines to achieve industry’s collective goals. The results of this collaborative effort are being compiled to create a “manifesto” that can be utilized to discern substantial next steps. 

IADC’s Accreditation and Credentialing team has also been hard at work creating ways for industry to engage with the next generation. In August, IADC launched WellSharp University, which gives colleges and universities the opportunity to offer to their students the same high-quality well control training found in the WellSharp accreditation program. This program will allow young professionals to set a strong foundation for their careers before they even graduate. 

IADC’s advocacy efforts have also played a part in changing the narrative around our industry and informing others of the importance of what we do. IADC’s Government & Industry Affairs and International Development teams have been busy advocating for drilling contractors around the world through a variety of projects and initiatives. For example, in the US, IADC coordinated a Washington, DC, fly-in to facilitate member dialogue with federal regulatory agencies and legislative policymakers. Outside the US, IADC has developed broader engagement with the International Regulators’ Forum member countries, along with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, in discussions regarding digitalization and data performance framework concepts. Projects like these help to ensure the highest standards of health and safety, which are crucial aspects of advancing industry and, more importantly, of protecting the people who make up this industry. 

When it comes to industry’s “big questions,” I know a few things for certain – IADC will continue to advocate for the best interests of its members and provide a forum for collaboration and innovation. We will remain focused on our mission, facing toward the future and relying on the invaluable involvement and input of our members every step along the way. I am proud of the progress that has been made this year, and I’ve only covered a fraction of what this association and its members have accomplished in 2022. Please read below for more details.  DC 

By Katie Carr, IADC Senior Coordinator – External Communications

Accreditation and Credentialing 

IADC’s Accreditation and Credentialing (ACD) group provides globally recognized, gold-standard accreditation programs that aim to elevate personnel safety in the industry and create an efficient, competent workforce. ACD offers a variety of accreditation programs, which are developed, maintained and regularly updated by IADC members working through technical committees, advisory panels and goal-oriented workgroups.  

IADC’s ACD initiatives have obtained ISO 9001:2015 certification for the 16th straight year, which confirms that they meet the quality and consistency of internationally recognized standards. IADC’s ACD department is the only accrediting body in the drilling industry to hold this certification. Accomplishing this recertification includes rigorous audit reviewing procedures, processes and records, as well as management, quality assurance, organizational resources and product development. 

This year alone, the ACD group accredited 57 new training providers, and 32,382 trainees have passed an IADC-accredited course. Starting in January 2022, new employees entering the industry in the Permian Basin have been required to complete the Fundamental Safety Orientation for Basin United, the new universal safety orientation program for the region. 

IADC’s WellSharp accreditation program provides comprehensive well control training standards for the global drilling industry, emphasizing rigorous training for every person with well control responsibilities. WellSharp University – the newest iteration of the WellSharp program – launched in August. Through this program, the same high-quality training of the WellSharp program will now be accessible to universities and colleges. Students will be able to take the WellSharp exam at no cost and will receive a custom student certificate upon successful completion. 

Other projects have been taking place in the WellSharp arena, as well. Additional security features were added to WellSharp Live this year to ensure the integrity of the program’s online exams. IADC and its members are continuing to find other ways to evolve accreditation programs in order to continue meeting the shifting needs of the industry. Much of this work is accomplished through member-based workgroups. This year, a variety of WellSharp workgroups made progress toward their respective goals:

  • WellSharp Well Servicing: The goal of this workgroup is to review and revise courses to stay current with new industry guidelines around well control and make content less equipment-focused and more focused on pressure control. Workgroup members have recently completed reviewing a course for coiled tubing and are now reviewing the Oil and Gas Operator Representative course.  
  • WellSharp Test Question Review: This workgroup met for the first time this year and convenes monthly to review the test questions in English. The group is projected to start working on translations in early 2023. 
  • WellSharp Simulator Assessment Revision: This workgroup has completed reviewing the Supervisor Level Assessment guidelines and has started reviewing the Driller Level Simulator Assessment. 
  • MPD Course Accreditation Workgroup: The IADC Underbalanced Operations and Managed Pressure Drilling (UBO and MPD) Committee secured funding to build a three-course MPD program and assessments into the WellSharp database. A workgroup is developing test questions throughout the end of the year. 

Government and Industry Affairs 

IADC is the voice of the drilling industry, facilitating impactful advocacy on behalf of drilling contractors. IADC’s Government and Industry Affairs (GIA) team maintains an ongoing dialogue regarding issues critical to the industry and advocates for fair and sensible regulatory practices. 

Earlier this year, IADC launched a new way to participate in the association, via the Advocacy Membership, which is available to individuals who wish to engage directly with IADC’s Political Action Committee, DrillersPAC. Funds from DrillersPAC are used strategically to advance IADC’s advocacy efforts with policymakers who support the industry. 

Throughout the year, the GIA team has been busy engaging with government officials and regulators, maintaining discussions and participating in joint actions with allied trade associations and entities, and keeping members informed. Examples of this work include: 

  • Continuously advocated for the interests of drilling contractors regarding the federal leasing bans in the US Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere by vocalizing IADC’s stance via media releases and statements, joining allied energy industry trade groups in filing a lawsuit challenging the US Department of the Interior, sending a joint trades letter to the Bureau of Ocean Management, etc. 
  • Held IADC’s annual Washington, DC, federal fly-in to facilitate dialogue between executives from both onshore and offshore drilling companies and over 30 members of Congress, the Biden Administration and industry allies.
  • Continued engaging with key industry groups, including ongoing participation in the Federal Lands Coalition, which met with the US Department of Energy’s Deputy Secretary David Turk. 
  • Sent letters and submitted comments with allied trade groups/organizations to a variety of entities regarding an array of concerns. 
  • Contributed to Rep. Fred Keller’s resolution (H.Res.1101) suggesting the federal government increase production of domestic oil and natural gas via drilling.
  • Used DrillersPAC funds to support 22 federal and state candidates in both parties, creating dozens of interactions between IADC member company executives and key policymakers.
  • Met with members of the Texas Railroad Commission to discuss state-level issues affecting drilling contractors.
  • Kept members informed of Congressional matters with monthly updates in IADC’s DrillBits Newsletter. 
  • Played a key role in organizing onsite visits with IADC members and key policymakers. Examples include a Transocean offshore rig visit to increase general knowledge and awareness of how the industry operates and provides energy to the world, and a facility tour and policy discussion hosted by Cactus Drilling with Oklahoma Congresswoman Stephanie Bice.
  • Participated in a land rig visit with 100 elementary and middle school teachers, facilitated by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.
  • Continued involvement and leadership in safety through participation in the Onshore Safety Alliance Executive Steering Committee and presenting to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. 
  • Attended an event with US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announcing a government program to promote geothermal energy development. 
  • Sponsored the 2022 Guyana Basins Summit with partner trade organizations and participated on an SME regulatory panel and moderated an “operator insight” panel.

International Development

The primary purpose of the IADC International Development team is to represent IADC and the interests of our members around the world. This is made possible by a network of regional representatives who serve as local advocates and foster connection and collaboration amongst members in Europe, the UK, Brazil, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Australasia and Latin America. 

Another core component of IADC’s international network is the association’s 10 regional chapters outside the United States. Chapter activity has been steadily increasing in many regions, and some chapters held in-person meetings this year for the first time since before the pandemic. 

IADC’s International Development team focused on advocating for drilling contractors via a variety of projects and initiatives, while continuing to develop relationships with local government officials, regulators and other industry organizations. Recent examples of such efforts include: 

  • Hosted part three of cyclone/hurricane webinar series, in conjunction with the IADC South Central Asia (SCA) Chapter. Attended by 125 participants, including IADC SCA Chapter Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC. Moderated by members of IADC student chapters based in India. 
  • Partnered with British Rig Owners Association to address concerns related to the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s standards for offshore helicopter landing areas. 
  • Continued participation in International Maritime Organization working group on Best Environmental Practices for Underwater Noise by representing industry perspective and providing insight on offshore drilling activities pertaining to this issue.
  • Continued monthly status calls with COVID-19 joint trades group to facilitate global movement of essential upstream personnel.  
  • Renewed Southeast Asia Chapter’s membership with the Indonesian Petroleum Association for 2022. 
  • Continued joint industry project addressing oil spill prevention, preparedness and response in the Wider Caribbean.
  • Developed broader engagement with the International Regulators’ Forum (IRF) member countries, along with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), in discussions regarding digitalization and data performance framework concepts.
  • Continued development of joint IRF/IOGP/IADC suite of learning statements: Enhancing Incident Investigation Protocols, Building on “Left Side Bow Tie” and Considerations for Well Control.
  • IADC’s Latin America Chapter partnered with the Mexican trade association AMEXHI to hold a virtual Offshore Security Workshop.
  • Signed MOU with ABESPetro, Brazilian trade association representing oilfield service companies, formalizing collaboration to foster education and communication among stakeholders in Brazil’s upstream sector.
  • Young Professionals Subcommittees were formed for both the SCA and Australasia chapters. 


Committees continue to provide a forum for members to collaborate and take considerable action toward various industry-driven initiatives. 

Two committees merged into one this year – Health, Safety & Environment combined with Workforce Development to create the Health, Safety, Environment & Training (HSET) Committee. The mission of the HSET Committee is to provide a forum to exchange best practices of committee members and to disseminate those practices to the IADC membership. HSET committee members have been working on new Terms of Reference to assist with committee scope and goals. 

The Incident Statistics Program (ISP) Subcommittee was also formed under the HSET Committee this year. The purpose of the ISP is to assist in the industry’s efforts to improve safety on oil and gas drilling rigs by providing data on incident trends and rates. The ISP Subcommittee reviewed and rewrote the ISP reporting guidelines document line-by-line, which is the first time this document has been updated in its entirety in 12+ years. The revised document is now available in an evergreen format on IADC’s website. 

IADC currently has 17 committees in total. Recent examples of committee activities and updates include: 

  • Advanced Rig Technology: held testing workshop for updated bit dull grading system; issued V1.0 of the IADC Rig Sensor Stewardship Guidelines, produced through more than 18 months of collaborative effort with the Maintenance Committee and with nearly 100 drilling industry professionals.
  • Cybersecurity: working to establish a priority list of functional elements for cybersecurity risk mitigation, which will be utilized to provide revisions to IADC’s Cybersecurity guidelines. The revised guidelines are intended to provide for easier application of IADC cyber principles throughout the upstream supply chain.
  • Drilling Engineers: hosted two hybrid technology forums, “Drilling Workforce of the Future” and “Future of Drilling: Brain Drain Manifesto.” Q4 Tech Forum, “Designing & Delivering Wells to Maximize Value Throughout Their Lifetime,” is scheduled for November.
  • HSET: The H2S workgroup, functioning under the HSET Committee, began work in mid-2022 with the main goal of developing an industry-recognized standard for H2S that is applicable and specific to the drilling industry. This workgroup is focused on developing training courses that are role-specific, with special focus on exposure risk. A draft curriculum is expected by Q1 2023. 
  • Jackup: continuing to revise several ISO 19000 series standards addressing offshore site-specific conditions, including enhancing subsea foundation assessment criteria for the safe operation of jackups and stationkeeping systems for offshore structures. Maintains a continuously active role on matters concerning Subcommittee 7 (Offshore Structures) within ISO Technical Committee 67 (Oil and Gas Industries Including Lower Carbon Energy).    
  • Rig Moving: held first in-person meeting in over two years; formed subcommittee to address regulatory issues relating to DOT/FMCSA compliance. Assembled a workgroup to initiate an industrywide safety standdown addressing the increase in severe injuries and fatalities related to rig moving. Created and distributed a document to IADC members to promote safety/awareness/prevention regarding rig moving.
  • Sustainability: produced IADC ESG position statement that has been published on IADC’S website; new officers will be elected in November. 
  • Technical Publications: published 11th book in its Drilling Encyclopedia portfolio, “Fundamentals of Horizontal Wellbore Cleanout: Theory and Applications of Rotary Jetting Technology”; developed first “DrillingIn” podcast.
  • Well Control: focused on issues such as enhancing “safety shares” and maintenance of drill string tripping log standardization. Engaged with a joint industry effort to coordinate an industry response to the recently proposed BSEE Well Control Rule “3.0” revision that aims to address well integrity and blowout prevention provisions on the US Outer Continental Shelf.  
  • Young Professionals: held “Luncheon with Leaders,” the first event of its type, which was capped at 40 participants to ensure a more intimate networking setting. 
  • Underbalanced Operations & Managed Pressure Drilling: completed work on API 16RCD 3rd Edition Specification Document, which was published in June. Work continues on the Influx Management Annex to API 92S and 92M specification documents.
IADC sponsored students from the University of Louisiana and the University of North Dakota to attend the 2022 IADC Advanced Rig Technology Conference in Austin, Texas.

Student Chapters 

The IADC Student Chapter Program was created in 2017 as a formal means of engaging with the industry’s next generation. In 2022, several schools met the requirements for Student Chapters, and IADC welcomed King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, to the program. With these latest additions, the program now consists of 14 active student chapters worldwide.   

IADC student chapters allow participants to supplement their academic educations with real-world industry experience and connections. Over the past year, student chapters held meetings, organized and hosted events and attended industry conferences. Here are some highlights:  

  • The Student Chapter at the University of North Dakota jointly organized two virtual events with the Society of Petroleum Engineers student chapter. The first integrated virtual workshop covered carbon capture, utilization and storage; the second workshop discussed geothermal drilling. 
  • Students at Maharashtra Institute of Technology and Pandit Deendayal Energy University held a collaborative five-day HSE conference and webinar series. The conference consisted of guest webinars from industry professionals discussing various HSE topics; three competitions, including a paper presentation competition, digital poster presentation competition, and HSE video-making competition; a well control workshop and a subsea lab visit; and a panel discussion where industry professionals emphasized the importance of HSE. 
  • The Texas A&M Student Chapter organized an ESG Summit with the goal of educating the public about the oil and gas industry’s ESG operations from the perspectives of academic, regulatory and industry representatives. 
  • The first IADC student chapter in Australia was established last fall at Curtin University and was officially inaugurated into the Bentley (Perth) Curtin Student Guild in late July 2022. Student chapter members participated in a university event for student organizations to increase awareness and participation. 
  • So far this year, IADC has sponsored more than 250 students and several faculty members to attend various conferences, including OTC, Drilling Africa and World Drilling. 


One integral way IADC serves its members is by keeping them informed and connected through an assortment of communications channels. Drilling Contractor, the official magazine of IADC, continues to exclusively focus on drilling and completions, providing in-depth coverage on topics impacting members’ day-to-day operations. Examples of articles published this year are:

  • One-on-one Q&A’s with key industry leaders from Patterson-UTI, Unit Drilling, Shelf Drilling, IOGP and IHS Markit
  • Using digital technologies to support new workflows in drill bit forensics
  • How low-carbon technologies for drilling rigs are moving from concept to reality
  • The art of data science in the drilling industry
  • How offshore asset integrity is evolving in the new digital ecosystem
  • Autonomous drilling at scale: How close are we?

Drilling Contractor magazine also delivers in-depth reporting in digital formats: 

The DC Digital Reader is a digital mirror of Drilling Contractor, providing the same high-quality content as its printed counterpart. It includes digital-exclusive content, such as additional articles, video/audio interviews and links to additional resources. 

The DrillingContractor.org news site currently includes more than 7,000 articles and videos, as well as a growing collection of virtual panel discussions (VPDs). In 2022, DC hosted “Upgrading the Grading,” a VPD focused on the IADC Advanced Rig Technology Committee’s ongoing project to modernize the IADC bit dull grading system. Leaders from the workgroup, representing Noble, ExxonMobil, NOV, Shell, among other companies, participated in this 90-minute session. 

DC launched 14 issues of eNews from DrillingContractor.org in 2022, featuring video interviews from key IADC and industry conferences. A few examples of the videos are:

  • With Petrobras’ Andre Alonso Fernandes from the SPE/IADC MPD & UBO Conference
  • With Maersk Drilling’s Rune Loftager and Precision Drilling’s Stu Ross at the IADC Advanced Rig Technology Conference
  • With Nabors’ Ram Murthi and D-WIS’ Mark Carrier at the IADC World Drilling Conference
  • With Oil States Industries’ Tom Robertson, Baker Hughes’ Dan Barton, and Drillmec’s Hadi Mustapha and Leonardo Bori at OTC

DrillBits is IADC’s monthly digital newsletter that focuses on IADC news and initiatives and reaches over 22,000 readers monthly. Articles discuss IADC regional and student chapters, conferences and events, committees, accreditation programs, and global legislative and regulatory activities that may impact drilling contractors. Examples of articles published in DrillBits this year include: 

  • IADC North Sea Chapter Gives Back to the Community
  • WellSharp University Now Available!
  • DuBose: IADC Student Chapters Provide Indispensable Opportunities for Connection 
  • IADC Hosts Washington D.C. Onshore and Offshore “Fly In” 
  • Social Media Influencers Tell the Industry’s Story at Drilling Onshore Panel
  • IADC maintains four websites that receive close to 40,000 average monthly visitors combined. Each website serves a unique purpose: 
  • DrillingContractor.org: the official website of Drilling Contractor magazine. 
  • IADC.org: the official website of IADC. 
  • Lexicon.org: a glossary of more than 10,000 oilfield drilling terms that have been defined in legislation, regulations, standards and/or guidelines. 
  • DrillingMatters.org: an educational website demonstrating the value of hydrocarbons to humanity, as well as the fundamentals of drilling operations.  DC 

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