2023IADC, Regulation, and LegislationJuly/August

Our members make the industry an exceptional global community

By Jason McFarland, IADC President

One of my favorite aspects of this association is the community, which somehow manages to be both wide-reaching and closely knit at the same time. We have members spread throughout the world, and every event I attend outside our Houston headquarters still feels like I’m right at home. I’ve never seen or experienced anything quite like it. This is a group essentially comprised of business competitors, and yet drilling contractors gather frequently and fervently for many reasons. Some of these reasons include working together to keep people safe, advocating for fair and sensible legislation, innovating changes in technologies and techniques, and serving as a unified voice for industry’s needs.  

Ultimately, what it comes down to is collaborating to further the best interests of the drilling industry. That was the stated purpose of this association when it was formed in November 1940, and it continues to be our purpose today. While many of our main goals have remained the same, this association has seen a lot of changes over the decades. 

For example, IADC was originally established as the American Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (AAODC) and initially focused on drilling contractors within the US. That changed in 1971 when we expanded both in name and in scope. The industry grew exponentially as drilling contractors started working in different regions around the world, and our focus as an association shifted with this growth. We expanded our activities to different areas of the world while maintaining activities within the US, and the AAODC officially became the International Association of Drilling Contractors. 

Today, IADC has a network of regional representatives who serve as local advocates to foster connection and collaboration among members in Europe, the UK, Brazil, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Australasia, Africa and Latin America. A core component of IADC’s global presence is our 10 regional chapters outside the US, which are run by local members. Regional chapters provide connection through networking events, professional development opportunities, and targeted efforts to address regional challenges. IADC’s student chapters have continued to develop outside the US as well, with a presence in Saudi Arabia, India, Australia and – the newest addition – Malaysia. 

One primary area of focus for all IADC regional chapters is safety. The Southern Arabian Peninsula Chapter held a well-attended HSE awards ceremony earlier this year, and the Nigeria Chapter held a similar ceremony in June. The North Sea Chapter is currently undertaking a “Mental Health in Energy” initiative, which aims to drive cultural change in how mental health is addressed in the energy industry. The chapter has published a 15-page white paper on the subject and recently hosted an interactive “Mental Health in Energy” workshop. 

The Southeast Asia Chapter introduced its inaugural safety awards presentation during the IADC HSE and Sustainability Asia Pacific Conference, held in Kuala Lumpur in May. In addition to the Asia Pacific conference, IADC also hosts an HSE and Sustainability Europe Conference. Conferences such as these are only possible because of the efforts of the dedicated members who make up the conference planning committees. These conferences provide members with a forum to gather and discuss significant topics. Other IADC conferences taking place outside the US this year include events in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Caspian region. 

IADC members outside the US are engaged in a variety of advocacy efforts affecting drilling contractors at the regional level. These members, along with IADC’s team, build and maintain relationships with local government officials, regulators and other industry organizations. We take part in important conversations to ensure the unique perspective of the drilling contractor is heard and respected. The Latin America Chapter is in the process of responding to the reclassification of drillships with a formal letter to regional regulators. The IADC South Central Asia Chapter has been addressing challenges in India regarding imposed age restrictions on MODUs. The Southeast Asia Chapter has been working for better cabotage regulation in Indonesia. In the North Sea, chapter members have been advocating for more support of drillers through visiting and writing letters to parliament. 

Another important way IADC regional chapters support their membership is through opportunities for networking and professional development. Many regional chapters host events so local members can gather for quarterly meetings or workshops on specific topics. For example, the Southern Arabian Peninsula Chapter recently held a “Soft Skills Communication & Negotiation” training session for its members. The Australasia Chapter recently hosted its 58th Annual General Meeting. The Caspian Chapter and the Northern Arabian Gulf Chapter, among others, hold annual golf tournaments and networking events. In June, the Brazil Chapter hosted a family cookout day. The list of examples could go on, but you get the idea. 

IADC’s global efforts are far-reaching and long-lasting. I bet the group of visionaries who started this association 83 years ago would be astounded by the remarkable work that has taken place and continues to be carried out by IADC’s passionate members.

To all IADC members worldwide, thank you for the countless ways you contribute to making the drilling industry the exceptional community that it is.  DC 

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