Industry must commit to next generation just as it’s committed to innovation, safety
By Jason McFarland, IADC President
The beginning of the year represents a fresh start, a time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. At IADC, this is exactly the approach that we take at the start of each new year; constantly evaluating what we offer to our members to ensure that it works for their needs and delivers value.
As we look forward into 2019, I see a lot of opportunities for IADC.
Specifically, we are contemplating ways to reach the next generation of oilfield workers and get them involved in IADC early in their careers. The prolonged downturn has a way of making those who would consider a career in oil and gas think twice about entering an industry that they may view as volatile. However, as our 2019 Chairman Kevin Neveu has said, “If you work hard and deliver results, you can make a career in this industry.”
I agree with him. We are a highly technical industry, and we are committed to innovation, leading to better safety records and environmental standards. We need to ensure that we are communicating this message to the next generation and getting them involved early with IADC and our network of industry veterans and experts.
One such way we are doing this is with the expansion of our network of IADC student chapters. Currently, we have established chapters at Texas A&M University, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and Missouri University of Science and Technology, and we are talking with other universities, as well as several vocational schools, that are interested in starting a chapter at their own institutions.
On a personal note, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many of the students involved in our established chapters, and I have been impressed with their maturity, engagement and eagerness to learn more about our industry. It’s inspiring and should give all of us peace of mind that the next wave of industry personnel is excited about the opportunities that exist within our industry.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here that the success of our student chapters is due in no small part to the IADC members and member companies who have taken on the role of mentor, volunteering their time to set up facility and rig tours and speak to students about the realities of a career in our industry. That kind of inside knowledge is invaluable, and I am truly grateful to those individuals who have helped make the student chapters a success.
Beyond engaging with the younger generation, we continue to look for opportunities to develop relationships with regulators and elected officials, both in the US and abroad to advocate for issues critical to oil and gas operations. In the US, the current Administration is supportive of our industry, but on issues like the new US, Mexico, Canada trade agreement and Interior offshore leasing plans, IADC continues to serve as an educative resource and advocate for oil and gas interests. The work is continuing worldwide, as well, as we look for more ways to engage on a local level in all of the geographies where IADC members operate.
In our Accreditation Division, this year we are looking at human factors and knowledge retention as facets of competency training, and we will be introducing new, specialized WellSharp training coursework. On the Conference side, we piloted a new conference in the Caspian in February to offer opportunities for those with operations in the region to meet with like-minded professionals and discuss specific issues.
Our technical committees continue to put out great work. For example, our Cybersecurity Subcommittee grew into a full-fledged committee last year and has hit the ground running. The group continues to work on several new guidelines. The committee recognizes that automation, while powering a new generation of rigs and operations, opens the industry up for potential cyber attacks, and they are hard at work developing safeguards that will protect our equipment and operations. Likewise, the Advanced Rig Technology Drilling Control Systems Subcommittee worked for most of last year on a revamp of the IADC Daily Drilling Report (DDR). Earlier this year, they rolled out the IADC DDR Plus. For the first time, the tour sheets explicitly include operations codes for safety and well control, and it represents a year of hard work by a dedicated group of professionals.
I hope that this brief overview gives you some insight into what IADC, and your peers, are working on right now. Providing value to our industry is what IADC prides itself on, and I think that these projects prove that this association is keenly focused on the needs of our industry and is working together with all of our members to develop solutions.
As always, I urge you to join us. If you aren’t already involved, reach out. Join a committee or a chapter, and attend a conference. The success of IADC is entirely reliant on the actions of our dedicated and involved members. I appreciate your continued support of the association and look forward to a successful 2019. DC