2017IADC, Regulation, and LegislationMarch/April

Lessons learned from previous downturns can help uphold safety as market recovers

From the President

Jason McFarland, IADC President
Jason McFarland, IADC President

Getting back to work, training personnel, beginning to recover from the downturn – these are some of the hot-topic issues, at least for the US onshore drilling industry, as rig counts have made a steady climb upwards. I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2017 IADC Health, Safety, Environment and Training Conference, and these issues were front and center amid cautious optimism about an industry recovery.

Look at any chart that shows manhours worked and related incidents, and it is clear that over the past 45-plus years, incident rates spike when the industry recovers from a downturn. After so many years, we’ve accepted that much of the blame for this phenomenon lies squarely in the realm of training. When business begins to pick back up and companies are chomping at the bit to get back to work, new employees must be hired quickly.

In the past, this has come at the price of higher incident rates due to inadequate knowledge and experience of new personnel.

This time, I believe, along with so many others, that we may have turned a corner. The intense focus we’ve placed over the past several years on reducing incidents and committing ourselves to thorough and rigorous training will serve us well as the US onshore industry begins to turn around. We have had the ability to look back, to see what worked and what didn’t.

From what I’ve heard and seen, companies are implementing these lessons learned into how they approach an upturn. We keenly understand our responsibility to educate our personnel and arm them with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to proficiently and safely perform their job duties.

Although not all markets around the globe have been hit as hard as the US, safety and training is an issue that continues to apply to everyone, in both the good times and the downturns. It is always at the top of our minds here at IADC.

You have heard us talk over the past several years about initiatives and programs that IADC has developed with the goal of helping to better train and educate those in our industry. WellSharp, Crane and Rigger accreditation, the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities competencies and Gateway all address industry training.

Our committees also have a laser focus on education. In just the past several months, the Cybersecurity Subcommittee introduced the IADC Guidelines for Assessing and Managing Cybersecurity Risks to Drilling Assets, and the IADC Alarm Management Workgroup introduced the Drilling Control System Alarm Management Guidelines. While these have been shepherded into existence under the IADC umbrella, the kudos must be given to those who volunteered their time and expertise to work together to develop these important resources. It’s this kind of collaboration that points back to my belief that by working together, in a non-competitive space, we are able to make this industry better for the future.

I believe that we also have a duty to not just educate our own industry but to serve as an educative resource for both the public, elected officials and regulators. Environmentalists have done a good job over the years of painting this industry with a negative brush. In an effort to regain some of the narrative and give a factual glimpse into our industry, IADC developed Drilling Matters.

Hopefully you have already read about this in previous editions of this magazine, but if you haven’t visited the website, I urge you to do so. Through video interviews with industry experts and supporting facts and evidence, Drilling Matters allows IADC to communicate the value of our industry to people who may not have a thorough understanding of who we are and what we do.

It’s never been more important for our industry to improve its standing with the public and regulators. Drilling Matters aims to showcase the value of oil and gas, the people and tools that supply these fuels for the world economy, and how we can help the billions of people who subsist without adequate access to electricity and clean water. I hope that you will take a moment to check it out at the Drilling Matters website.

I believe that the work that we are all collectively doing helps ensure our future success. At IADC, I am proud of the work that has been done, and is being done, to further our commitment to enacting positive change in our industry.

The seeds of a US onshore recovery have seemingly taken root, and no matter where we live and work, we all have a stake in ensuring that any market upturn is successful. I believe we have the tools in place to make this a reality. DC

Click here to visit the Drilling Matters website.


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