As we usher in a new year, I am feeling hopeful about the good work we can accomplish in 2021. In my role of fostering IADC’s impact across the globe, I’ve been heartened by how Members navigated the year. Throughout 2020, they demonstrated the spirit of cooperation our Association was founded on 80 years ago.
More than any other time I can remember, the entire industry felt united this past year. Our Members throughout the world felt the effect of the pandemic differently, however, and I’d like to highlight some of the swift actions we took to assist them.
The COVID-19 pandemic created many opportunities for everyone to collaborate for a common cause. Teamwork was paramount in meeting the many challenges presented by travel restrictions and border controls that effected crew changes. The partnerships between our trade association, governmental agencies, and our local/regional chapters were beneficial in aiding Members. It helped to narrow the gap created from these public safety protocols.
As different regions experienced the year in different ways, we looked to represent the industry where needed. We worked closely with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) on setting industry protocols for COVID-19 testing.
The Association was able to facilitate and educate the industry on the impacts of COVID-19 and ways to mitigate it with standardized measures, protocols, and processes.
Growth in Reach
The pandemic did not stop the Association’s international reach. After many months of planning, emails, in-person and virtual meetings with Association Members leading the charge, IADC’s Latin America Chapter was launched in Q3 last year. The Chapter held a membership drive and hosted a very well attended inaugural annual general meeting via Zoom with founding Members representing various segments of the region’s energy industry.
This new regional presence in Spanish-speaking countries solidifies our foothold in the Western Hemisphere. With the Chapter’s focus on addressing obstacles regionally, the industry as a whole is strengthened worldwide. The Latin America Chapter will initially serve Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and continental South America (except Brazil where an IADC Chapter already exists) with an eye on expanding the Association’s presence wherever the world’s energy industry is evolving.
The pandemic did not cease collaboration efforts among IADC Members. As I’m sure every other organization did this year, Regional Chapter meetings were shifted to virtual when in-person meetings became prohibitive. In regions where the pandemic’s impact was less severe, in-person events were held in accordance with social distancing best practices near year’s end.
Often our work is out of the public view, having Regional Chapters assist IADC in facilitating collaboration when it is needed most. A prime example was the critical crew and supply movements to and from offshore rigs that initially stopped due to public health concerns. Legally prohibited from re-entering the country, offshore workers found themselves stuck on job sites for weeks past scheduled departure dates. IADC engaged with local authorities in Brazil, the Arabian Peninsula, and India to champion more sensible approaches to ensuring safe protocols to facilitate crew changes.
Without our strong Chapter network conveying the needs back to Houston, the industry and its workers could have been subjected to even more extended stays at the rig sites.
Stewards of the Future
In an effort to keep the Association’s long-term goals within sight, IADC has continued outreach to our Student Chapters. The industry is committed to looking forward for innovations, which do not come without new ideas.
A second international Student Chapter was established in Gujarat, India at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU). I was very enthused to see 119 delegates in attendance at their virtual inauguration ceremony. In addition to PDPU, we welcomed two other Student Chapters from universities and colleges in the United States: the University of North Dakota and Lone Star College.
It’s important to engage with these budding young professionals to ensure we are investing in the next group of industry leaders. These smart, driven students will shape the drilling industry for years to come, but they require mentoring and exposure to the practical side of the industry. By providing experiences like working rig visits, factory tours, and professional networking we are providing valuable opportunities and insight for the students.
For instance, 71 students from all over the globe attended IADC’s Well Control Conference in August. Students took advantage of our newly deployed WellSharp Live training platform to gain a better understanding on the application of their academic studies and on how these apply at the well site.
2020 was a difficult year for everyone in the energy sector, but it is behind us now and with each passing day we are moving toward normalization again. For our Members we welcome that day. I have full confidence that as an industry and an Association we will achieve our best outcome by working together. We have many hurdles yet to face, but we will take the challenge head on and solve these issues in a professional and collaborative manner. I am humbled and grateful to work with the good people of this Association, and I look forward to meeting the challenges that 2021 has in store.