Editorial: Through tough times, IADC advocated admirably on behalf of members in 2016

Thomas Burke, Chairman
Thomas Burke, 2016 IADC Chairman

At the beginning of the year, I talked about the importance of continuing to invest in our workforce, with a focus on safety and training, along with a commitment for this association to deliver value to you, our members.

This year was a difficult one for the industry. Market forces were decidedly against us, and the downturn did not discriminate. Companies have been forced to restructure, and the rig count is dismal. It has been hard to find good news amidst all of the negative press. But as we round out 2016 and I look back over a difficult year, it is with pride that I reflect on IADC’s accomplishments. The association has had a strong response to the downturn, and I am particularly proud to have served as IADC Chairman this year.

The most important change this year came in March, when Jason McFarland was appointed to the role of IADC President. The Executive Board agreed that his leadership and strategic and operational skills, along with his 20-year career with IADC, would guide him in leading the organization into the future. We were impressed with his commitment to member service and delivering value to IADC members. His actions, and the accomplishments of IADC this year, have continually demonstrated this commitment. It is quite clear that we made the right choice for the leadership of this dynamic association.

In January, I also talked about the importance of IADC’s Policy, Government and Regulatory Affairs  (PGRA) function, promising to further efforts to proactively advocate on IADC members’ behalf with key regulators and government officials. I am impressed with what we have accomplished in just a year’s time. For example, in the US, representatives of several of our member companies, from both onshore and offshore contractors, had the opportunity to meet personally with members of the US Congress and their staff to educate them about our industry. This kind of access for IADC members is key. Educating public officials is important if we are to make inroads into negating the false rhetoric that surrounds our industry. This type of advocacy rounds out the voluminous level of work that IADC staff and members engage with every day: presenting at conferences, workshops and regulator meetings, commenting on proposed regulation, meeting with top-level officials and hosting educational workshops. It is a lot of work to successfully advocate for fair and reasonable legislation and regulation, and IADC has a strong, capable team in place to do so. The work seemingly never ends, and as we look forward to the future, I am excited for the prospect of furthering IADC’s advocacy activities.

With regard to safety and training, IADC’s WellSharp is a particular point of pride for me, as it should be for all of our members. In 2015, we introduced to the industry a well control training and accreditation program that is head and shoulders above other available well control training in the industry. Combining hands-on training with an electronic database and requirements for proctored testing, WellSharp ensures that personnel with well control responsibilities receive the training they require to optimally perform their jobs.

This year, the test was translated into Portuguese, with versions in Chinese, Arabic and Spanish coming soon. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and test scores are better than anticipated. I believe that our industry is safer because of this program, and without the hours of volunteer efforts by IADC members, it would not have been possible.

On a personal level, I had the opportunity to speak at several of our conferences and engaged with IADC members whom I otherwise may not have met. This association serves an important role for the drilling contractor community, and I believe, strongly, that we are better for having an association in place that advocates exclusively for our interests. The level of commitment from IADC members who volunteered their time and expertise to serve on committees or attend chapter meetings, events and conferences, makes me proud to be a part of this association. Serving as your chairman was an experience that I appreciate deeply, and I look forward to the future of both the industry and IADC. DC

“It is a lot of work to successfully advocate for fair and reasonable legislation and regulation, and IADC has a strong, capable team in place to do so.”

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