DRILLBITS – May 2019

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Colorado Governor Signs Bill to Overhaul Oil and Gas Regulations

On 16 April, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Bill 181, Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations, which concerns additional public welfare protections regarding the conduct of oil and gas operations. The bill prioritizes the protection of public safety, health, welfare and the environment in the regulation of the oil an gas industry by modifying the oil and gas statute and by clarifying, reinforcing and establishing local governments’ regulatory authority over the surface impacts of oil and gas development.

According to a study by the Global Energy Management Program at the University of Colorado Denver, Business School, along with a summary released by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the bill could possibly have an adverse impact on oil and gas activity in the state. The reasons for this are varied and  include:

  • the imposition of a statewide moratorium on permitting and drilling
  • would remove technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness as factors that could be considered in regulatory and permitting decisions
  • would give local governments the ability to create larger setbacks
  • would give sweeping, subjective new powers to local government over the oil and natural gas process
  • would remove experts in engineering and geology from the COGCC, the 9-member panel responsible for making oil and gas regulatory decisions in Colorado.

The full bill can be accessed at:

IADC Disappointed in House Committee Vote Regarding ANWR

On 1 May, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources voted on H.R. 1146, legislation that would block the U.S. from moving forward with opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas development. In response to the vote, IADC President Jason McFarland said:

“Opening a portion of ANWR to oil and gas development and production has been a goal of IADC’s since the 1980s as it represents an extraordinary opportunity to responsibly develop the vast resources that the area is believed to contain. Therefore, IADC is disappointed by today’s vote in the House Natural Resources Committee that attempts to block future development of ANWR. According to the Congressional Budget Office, opening this area will create jobs and raise $1.1 billion in revenue over the next ten years.   In addition, opening ANWR keeps the U.S. on the path of energy dominance, allowing the country to develop more of its own natural resources, which will be needed for decades to come. Based on their experience drilling thousands of wells in the U.S. and internationally, IADC members have no doubt that oil and gas operations can be conducted in ANWR without harm to the area’s wildlife and in a manner that is compatible with the sensitive arctic environment. IADC and its members remain committed to supporting legislation that encourages environmentally sensitive and responsible drilling activities both in the U.S. and internationally.”

BSEE’s Final Well Control Rule Supports Safe Industry Operations

On 1 May,  the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement released its final Well Control Rule, which addresses well control safety. In response, IADC President Jason McFarland said:

“This latest refinement of BSEE’s well control regulations, first introduced in July 2016, provide the necessary framework upon which evolving technology and performance-oriented best practices can be leveraged to sustain the safety and productivity of offshore oil and gas operations. BSEE’s technical experts were particularly focused on only the most necessary enhancements to the originally drafted rule, and as such determined that only 59 of the original 342 provisions required adjustment. The Bureau’s approach ensured that 82% of the original provisions remain unchanged. The changes that are included in today’s Final Rule, reflect a common-sense approach to regulation and does nothing to decrease safety. Most importantly, it further optimizes technology and innovation to the greater benefit of effective and safe offshore operations.”

IADC Praises Senate Confirmation of David Bernhardt as Secretary of Interior

On 11 April, the United States Senate confirmed David Bernhardt to lead the Department of Interior. In response, IADC President Jason McFarland issued the following statement:


“As Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt’s mandate will be to develop the tremendous natural resources within the U.S., and to ensure that this is done in a safe and environmentally sound manner. The oil and gas industry in the U.S. employs an average of more than 540,000 people, generating more than $61 billion in wages and supports more than $1.2 trillion in U.S. gross domestic product. The contribution of the energy industry to the overall economy of the U.S. is vast, and we are doing so with a clear and consistent focus and commitment to facilitate safe operations. Armed with these facts, drilling contractors look forward to serving as an educative resource to Secretary Bernhardt and the Department on all matters that affect the oil and gas industry to ensure that the U.S. remains an energy powerhouse.”

Washington D.C. Updates


Congress returned from a two-week recess in April.  First on the U.S. House agenda is H.R. 9, legislation pertaining to the Paris Climate agreement.  The House is expected to pass this legislation, which blocks President Trump from removing the U.S. as a signatory country to the Paris Climate Accord.  Also, the House Natural Resources Committee is expected to pass H.R. 1146,  legislation blocking the U.S. from moving forward with opening ANWR for oil and gas development.  Both H.R. 9 and H.R. 1146, are likely dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate.


The Senate is coming back from recess with a continued focus on approving President Trumps nominations.  Nominations will continue to dominate Senate Floor activity.  Like the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate will begin to shift its work into the annual appropriations process with many committees holding budgets hearings in advance of appropriations legislation.

White House:

President Trump moved forward with reducing the oil purchased from Iran with his presidential determination  that “consistent with prior determinations, there is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions.”  In addition, he also ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers at the Mexican border — including application fees and work permit restraints — and directed that cases in immigration courts be settled within 180 days.  Currently, more than 800,000 cases are pending, with an average wait time of almost two years. The Administration also directed immigration authorities to reopen thousands of nonviolent removal cases.


IADC North Sea Chapter Presents Annual North Sea Safety Awards

On 26 April, the IADC North Sea Chapter recognized the best in safety performance at it’s annual Safety Awards Ceremony. The award for best safety performance in the jackup category was awarded to Borr Drilling, with Noble Drilling as the runner-up. Diamond Offshore was recognized in the floating rig category with Stena Drilling as the runner-up. The winner for platform drilling was KCA Deutag.

Chairman’s Awards, which recognize individual rigs and their crews with the best safety performance, went to Maersk Invincible, Maersk Drilling; Deepsea Bergen, Odfjell Drilling; and Oseberg B, KCA Deutag. The Associate Member award was presented to Westerton Access and the Chairman’s Special Award to Jason McGettigan with Rowan Drilling.

For more information about the North Sea Chapter, please visit the IADC Website.

IADC North Sea Chapter Safety Award Winners and Runners-up 2019
Back Row (L to R): Andrew Hepburn and Louis Pietranek, Westerton Access; Brian Fleming and Jim Paterson, KCA Deutag; Ian Clubb, Diamond Offshore; Predrag Berlafa, Maersk Drilling
Front Row (L to R): Jason McGettigan, Rowan Drilling; Jason Pine, Borr Drilling; Laura Hart and Darren Richardson, Noble Drilling; Harald Tvedt and Donald MacLeod, Odfjell Drilling

European Commission Releases Best Available Techniques Guidance Document on Upstream Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production

On 9 April, the European Commission issues an announcement to bring awareness to the publication of the Final Guidance Document, Best Available Techniques Guidance Document on Upstream Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production. The guidance will assist both organizations engaged in hydrocarbon activities and regulatory authorities in ensuring that these activities are less damaging to the environment.

The document addresses 13 onshore and 10 offshore activities pertaining to upstream activities that have been identified as potentially posing the biggest impact to the environment and human health. The identified best practices in the document are intended to serve as guidance for organizations engaged in hydrocarbon activities and for regulatory/permitting authorities to draw upon when planning new facilities or carrying out modifications to existing facilities, planning changes and investments and permitting activities across the European Union.

More information can be found on the European Commission website.


Saipem S.p.A. is the latest offshore drilling contractor to become a participant in the RAPID-S53 BOP Reliability Database.  Saipem’s entry brings the total of current companies in the joint industry project to 29.  This includes 14 contractors, 12 operators and three equipment manufacturers.

The JIP was formed in 2016 by combining BOP database efforts undertaken by IOGP and IADC with those initiated by a group of seven offshore drilling contractors.  RAPID-S53 stands for Reliability & Information Performance Information Database for API Standard 53 well control equipment.

Operators and both offshore and onshore drilling contractors are welcome to participate in the JIP.  In addition to monthly summary reports, participating companies get regular “information bulletins” highlighting measures others have taken to improve BOP performance and increase operating efficiency as a result of the data.  Safety Bulletins on critical items important to the industry are also publicly available on the RAPID-S53 website at

For more information, contact Steve Kropla at

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments to Extend California Wage-and-Hours Laws to Offshore Drilling Platforms

On 16 April, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Parker Drilling Management Service Ltd. v. Newton case. The case addresses whether workers employed on drilling platforms more than three miles off the coast of California are entitled to the protections of California’s more worker-friendly wage-and-hours law or a federal statute, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which limits them to the benefits required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Rig worker Brian Newton won a previous ruling from the 9th Circuit Court that found state employment laws could be extended to personnel working beyond 3 miles from the coast of California. Key considerations on the part of the court appeared to be precedent set by the 5th Circuit Court’s long history of cases adjudicated within its jurisdiction that includes the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. 97% of U.S. offshore labor is employed off Louisiana and Texas. The court is expected to issue its opinion by the end of June.

For more information, please visit the Supreme Court of the United States blog.

IADC Houston Chapter Hosts 9th Annual Oilfield Charity Shoot

On 8 March, the IADC Houston Chapter hosted its 9th Annual Oilfield Charity Shoot at the American Shooting Centers in Houston. The $26,000 raised from the shoot was donated to the Oilfield Christina Fellowship and to the IADC scholarship fund.
From Left: Marc Noel, Independence Contract Drilling; Chris Fulbright, Gallagher; Chris Menefee, Independence Contract Drilling; John Alexander, GeoSouthern; and Paul Alexander.

U.S. Coast Guard Reiterates Stance on Marijuana Use for Sea Service Members

On 16 April, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Maritime Commons publication featured an article focused on the variety of risks associated with marijuana use. Despite the trending legalization of the drug at the state level, the Coast Guard and Department of Transportation will continue to sustain existing drug testing policies and protocols irrespective of changes at the state level.

To access the full article, please visit the U.S. Coast Guard website.   

University of Wyoming Student Chapter Members Tour Facilities, Attend IADC Rocky Mountain Chapter Meeting

On 25 April, more than 70 people attended the IADC Rocky Mountain Chapter in Casper, with 13 students from the IADC Student Chapter at the University of Wyoming also in attendance. The group received updates from both the Rocky Mountain Chapter, the student chapter, AESC and a presentation on rig automation from Justin Allen with NOV. The following day, the University of Wyoming student chapter members were invited to tour two facilities in Wyoming, the NOV Rig Repair facility and Tuboscope.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Addresses IMO 2020 Sulphur Provisions Compliance

On 2 April, U.S. Coast Guard Admiral John Nadeau delivered the keynote address at the Connecticut Maritime Association’s Shipping Conference 2019. During his presentation, he addresses challenges for the maritime industry and the Coast Guard as it pertains to the 2020 Low Sulphur requirement. The U.S. is positioned to have ample quantity and quality of fuel since ECA requirements have been in place since 2015, which requires availability of 0.1% fuel.

Availability challenges will likely be expected outside of the U.S. as many maritime operators have employed a “wait and see” approach to planning for the forthcoming 2020 provisions Other notable issues mentioned in the keynote address were Cybersecurity and the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act.


More information about Admiral John Nadeau’s remarks at the conference can be found on the Coast Guard’s website.


IADC Accreditation Department Successfully Passes ISO 9001:2015 Recertification Audit

In February, IADC’s Accreditation Department successfully passed the ISO 9001:2015 recertification audit with zero findings. IADC remains the only well control accrediting body to hold ISO 9001:2015 certification, demonstrating the association’s ability to consistently provide services that meet customer requirements while keeping a focus on quality and integrity.  Programs that fall under the ISO certification include RigPass, SafeLand, SafeGulf, WellSharp, WellCAP Plus, DIT, Competence Assurance, Gateway and Crane-Rigger.

The ISO 9001 QMS standard requires that a company identify and describe processes using business metrics, the purpose of which is to better manage and control business processes. The ISO 9001 family addresses various aspects of quality management and contains some of ISO’s best-known standards, which provide guidance and tools for companies and organizations that want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements. ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to. This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.

For more information, please contact Brooke Polk at

IADC to Launch WellSharp Plus

IADC is preparing to launch WellSharp® Plus, a new accreditation program that fully integrates human factors (i.e., crew resource management) into technical well control training and specifically targets experienced personnel.

The primary goals of this new program are to reduce the potential for human error and to contribute to the competence of personnel during drilling operations.

“Now that WellSharp® has raised the bar for well control training,” explains Mark Denkowski, IADC’s VP of Accreditation Operations, “IADC’s members and accredited training providers are embracing this logical next step to address human factors.”

Throughout 2018, a workgroup comprising course designers, human factors experts, and other stakeholders in the upstream O&G worked together to develop a human factors curriculum, program and course requirements, and a new “train-the-trainer” course for human factors instructors.

A greater focus on human factors has emerged as producers/operators, drilling contractors, and service companies seek to address two lessons learned from past well control incidents: The need for 1) training aimed at specifically addressing human-error and 2) training that focuses on problem-solving during the low-probability, high-impact well control scenarios.

As part of their program-development process, the workgroup reviewed the human factors training and best practices from NASA, the US military, and from the airline, nuclear, and healthcare industries. They also considered ongoing efforts at organizations in the O&G industry, such as IOGP, SPE, API, and OESI. These organizations and others have been working to better understand the human element within the operational context, the causes of human error during drilling operations, and the nontechnical knowledge and skills required for maintaining safe, efficient operations.

Rather than creating an isolated human factors course or training module, course designers recognized the value of creating a new model for content delivery—one that emphasizes the specific contributors to human error in the context of well control by fully integrating the technical and nontechnical content.

IADC’s new human factors curriculum aligns with content developed within other industries and by other O&G organizations, particularly IOGP. Although, in reality, much of the content is interconnected, the topics generally correlate with at least one of the following six categories: situation awareness, decision-making, communication, teamwork, leadership, and factors that affect human performance. This last category comprises the human conditions that affect the other five categories, such as fatigue (e.g., sleep deprivation, illness, shiftwork, time of day), stress (e.g., confusion, multi-tasking, conflict, fear), difficulty managing distractions, and cultural differences.

To maximize learning and knowledge retention, WellSharp® Plus instructors are required to meet additional qualification requirements that include successful completion of “train-the-trainer” coursework involving the following: facilitated learning methods, adult learning principles, strategies that appeal to different learning styles, and strategies for delivering and assessing the human factors content.

Facilitated learning methods have been proven to maximize learning by exploiting the human brain’s natural process of learning through experiences, which involves the learner interacting with the subject and then “debriefing”—reflecting on and drawing conclusions about the subject through a guided discussion. During this process, the instructor is the “guide” rather than the “lecturer.” The instructor observes the activity and discussions and then, as needed, asks open-ended questions to guide the learners. The content of the learning can be delivered in a multitude of ways that rarely involve traditional lecture. Studies show that traditional lecture is the least effective way of learning new content.

The format for a WellSharp® Plus course comprises problem-solving through teamwork in which the participants fulfill the different the roles needed to make up a rig crew: driller, assistance driller, supervisor (toolpusher, company man), and other positions. The course uses case studies and simulation to deliver content and to provide the instructors with an opportunity to observe and assess the human factors and technical skills in order to guide a debriefing session following each case study.

Participants must have taken and passed an “upper-level” WellSharp® course (e.g., Driller- or Supervisor-level) in the previous 2 years and then must meet a higher standard in passing the WellSharp® exam immediately before beginning the course. The fundamentals of well control are an essential prerequisite for WellSharp® Plus because the technical content comprises only the more complex well control scenarios.

“This new course will be an important element in what we are calling our ‘Cycle of Competence,’ in which each member of the rig crew can complete position-specific training, competence assessment at the jobsite during operations, continuous learning between the required courses, and then begin the cycle again all throughout his or her career,” explained Denkowski. “Now, we can set our sights on continuous learning, the next logical step.”

The program is expected to begin accepting applications in April 2019. Companies intending to apply may obtain additional information by emailing


IADC UBO/MPD Former Chairman Recognized with IADC Exemplary Service Award

During the IADC International Deepwater Drilling Conference on 19 March, Petrobras Technical Advisor Andre Alonso Fernandes, M.Sc. was awarded with an IADC Exemplary Service Award for his service as a former chairman of the IADC UBO and MPD Committee.
Mr. Fernandes began his career in the energy industry in 2002 with Alstom, a French power and transportation company, as a field engineer before transitioning to offshore oil and gas in 2004 when he joined Petrobras, working as a companyman on approximately 20 DP deepwater vessels on 10 fields.

In 2009, he became a well designer for Petrobras, where for three years he built on his previous experience in the field, designing development wells in the Campos Basin. In 2012, he accepted a role to focus exclusively on the development of MPD technologies and techniques for Petrobras, a role he he still holds at the company.

Mr Fernandes holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Sao Paulo and a master’s degree, also in mechanical engineering, where his thesis focused on simulation and strategies for MPD controls.

IADC Maintenance Committee Experiments with Augmented Reality Technology, Discusses Real World Applications

During a recent IADC Maintenance Committee meeting, augmented reality technology company Smart Group, invited members to experience the technology and to discuss its potential applications to the maintenance of rig equipment and how it could have positive effects on efficiency and training.

IADC Advanced Rig Technology Committee Names New Leadership

The IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee recently elected new committee leadership. Robert van Kuilenburg, Noble Drilling was named Chair and Rob Shank, Parker Drilling, was named Vice Chair. Brian Garrett, Rowan Companies was named BOP Controls Subcommittee Chair; Mitch Eichler, Parker Hannifin was named BOP Controls Subcommittee Co-Chair; Nathan Moralez, BP remains Chair of the Drilling Control Systems Subcommittee with Assaad Mohanna, NOV named as Vice Chair.

For more information about the ART Committee, please visit the IADC website.

Abstracts Invited for 26 June IADC DEC Q2 Tech Forum on Drilling Automation

Over the past few years, the drilling industry has achieved significant advances in automation. Which have been the most successful technologies developed, and what do they tell us about where we need to go next? Is the financial value of automating drilling processes fully understood? Should we be targeting more complete autonomy, or is there always going to be a need for human expertise “in the loop”? Increased safety is clearly one of the most important objectives of automation, but are we seeing a favorable impact on keeping our personnel safer? What new technologies are being developed, and are there lessons to be learned from automated applications in other industries? What is the future of automated drilling? What could a drilling operation look like in 2030, and what are the main obstacles on the road to automation? The IADC Drilling Engineers Committee (DEC) Q2 Technology Forum is designed to explore our progress and consider our future.

Abstracts are invited for presentations to address the above questions and challenges at this event, with the theme of “Drilling Automation – Where Are We and Where Do We Need to Be?” Event will be held the morning of Wednesday, 26 June, at Patterson-UTI Energy, 10713 West Sam Houston Pkwy N #800, Houston, TX 77064.

The deadline for abstracts is Friday, 17 May. Click here to submit an abstract.

For more information, contact Linda Hsieh,


Android App for Mission Petrohouse Rolled Out

IADC’s Drilling Matters initiative to educate the public and dispel myths and misconceptions about our industry hit the ground running in 2019, with the roll out of an Android app for its popular online game Mission Petrohouse.

Mission Petrohouse players steer a retro rocket ship through a home and “zap” everyday products created from petroleum to fill the rocket’s fuel tank. The game tracks the number of items zapped, and provides helpful information about each item.

The new app can be downloaded from Google Play at

Drilling Matters is available on line at

For more information about Drilling Matters, contact Amy Rose (

DrillPad Strives to Help Build Well Control Proficiency

IADC’s Useful Resources web page offers a link to materials designed to help build and assure individual and crew well control competency and proficiency anywhere in the world. The DrillPad Deployment Well Control Drill Trainer Training Template and the companion DrillGuide Example are freely available from the

“IADC is pleased to offer these DrillPad resources through our website, and believes that this will be a positive step for the industry,” remarked IADC President Jason McFarland. “IADC has long pioneered and worked to develop industry best practice for training in well control, and DrillPad neatly dovetails with our mission of ensuring safe rigs worldwide.”

The PowerPoint file DrillPad Trainer Training is offered to assist trainers in developing an effective program of well control drills. It includes keys to effective drills, critical skill sets, grading criteria, common pitfalls, and more.

The PDF Well Control Drill Guide provides lists of drills, questions, and attributes within DrillPad. The guide is meant to be used in conjunction with rig-specific well control procedures to conduct and assess performance during well control drills. The objective is to ensure that all members of the rig team with well control responsibilities are aware of their specific responsibilities, possess an understanding of well control commensurate with those responsibilities, and can confidently execute their duties when required.

Each well control drill details the drill type, potential participants, exercises, caution guidance, assessment guidance, questions, skills assessed, and more.

IADC ISP Plaques Showcase Company Safety Record

Safety should not be competitive in the drilling industry, but bragging rights always are!

You have worked hard to build an impressive safety record. Your employees pay close attention to ensure that they work safely.

Let your customers know about it. IADC ISP plaques are a stand-out way to ensure the world knows how successful your accident prevention program is.

IADC has two types of ISP plaques available. The Executive Grade: Bronze-tone safety excellence medallion on a red velvet background with gold engraved text on a raised bronze-tone plate. Supreme Grade: Laser engraved text with company name, rig name or number and IADC logo in raised gold lettering. Both plaques include company name, rig name or number with the numbers of years without a Lost time or recordable incident.

IADC acknowledges the rigs in the monthly DrillBits newsletter.

Get extra plaques for the office, rig, and your top employees. Fire those guys up with a well-deserved pat on the back.

IADC ISP plaques are only available to companies participating in the IADC ISP program, the industry’s definitive safety statistics program since 1961.

For more information on ordering plaque please contact Loretta Krolczyk at

To participate in ISP, please email

IADC Lexicon Featured Term for May 2019

The IADC Lexicon ( is a compendium of upstream-related terms, which, unlike conventional glossaries, are official definitions drawn from legislation, regulation and regulatory guidance, standards (global, national and regional), and IADC guidelines. Terms often have multiple definitions from different sources.

This month’s Featured Term is:

“State Title” (Source: Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006, Australia, amended 2012.):

State title means an authority, however described, under a law of a State, to explore for, or to recover, petroleum.

(click the link to read the full definition on the IADC Lexicon.)

Accreditation Updates




  • Gulf Reservoir Modeling Technology RESMODTEC, Istanbul, Turkey


  • FJones County Junior College Petroleum Training Center, Stonewall, Mississippi, USA

Upcoming Events

Rigs Receive ISP Certificates

For certificates received since last LTI (in years):

  • Atlantica: Beta (4); Beta (3);
  • Japan Drilling CO. Ltd.: Hakuryu 5 (9); Hakuryu 10 (5); Hakuryu 11 (5); Hakuryu 12 (4); Sagadril 1 (3);
  • Noble Drilling Services Inc.: Noble Globetrotter II (3);
For certificates received since last recordable incident (in years):
  • Japan Drilling CO. Ltd.: Hakuryu 10 (7); Hakuryu 14 (1); Sagadril 1 (1);

New IADC Members

IADC welcomes 13 new members:


DRILLBITS Volume 29, Number 5

Kevin Neveu, Chairman • Jason McFarland, President • Amy Rose, Editor

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