Houston, Texas (August 21, 2014) – Ensuring the integrity and reliability of drilling and well-control systems in an era of cost squeezing and drilling in extreme conditions is the most fundamental aspect of today’s well-construction industry, said International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) Chairman Jay Minmier. Mr. Minmier made his remarks in the featured address at the 2014 IADC Asset Integrity and Reliability Conference, held on 20 August in Houston.
Mr Minmier, President of Nomac Drilling, cited incidents such as Macondo and Piper Alpha, noting that the causes of each could be traced to a string of simple failures and oversights that were otherwise unremarkable, except they were not intercepted. He talked about the pressure to increase productive time which forces drilling contractors to cycle equipment more frequently, causing more wear and tear.
“Operators demand that costs be lowered. But at the same time, our equipment and systems are being tested to the limit, and sometimes beyond,” said Mr. Minmier. “Offshore, we operate in frontier areas, deepwater, remote locations, and in ultra-high-pressure/high-temperature. Mid- and shallow-water locations are the domain of an ageing rig fleet where life-extension maintenance is a key issue.”
Mr. Minmier noted the complexity of the problem facing the industry, but, citing recent legislation and regulation both in the US and UK, stressed that the time for tackling widespread repetitive failures and asset-related incidents differently on different rigs and in different jurisdictions is over. He advocated for specific solutions to address the issues, with the collection and sharing of data crucial to this effort.
“An Integrity Management System should address quality at every stage of the asset life cycle, from the design of new facilities to maintenance management to decommissioning. Inspections, auditing and assurance, human interfaces and overall quality processes are just a few tools designed to ensure an effective integrity management system,” said Mr. Minmier. “We also recognize the importance of condition-based monitoring. In order to maintain our assets in fit-for-purpose condition and to ensure our equipment will work when we need it, we must have data from failures, testing, overhauls and inspection. The availability of reliability data leads to the adoption of condition-based monitoring of critical components. Such techniques are gaining in acceptance and the availability of suitable and reliable sensors deployed in safety-critical locations is increasing.”
He highlighted the industry’s historical reluctance to share data, but stressed that doing so is crucial, noting that databases to store and process high-quality and pertinent data anonymously are now available. He went on to say, “For data collection of equipment performance, arbitrary time-based maintenance procedures can be detrimental to the life cycle of a key component like BOPs. But without sufficient data to support this, it can be difficult to show that other approaches might be more effective.”
Mr. Minmier was ultimately optimistic about the future. He pointed to several on-going high profile efforts expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of such an approach. These include a system to track BOP performance in the Gulf of Mexico and the development of the IADC Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) competencies, which identify maintenance procedures and the proper operation of specific types of equipment, depending on the rig type and environment.
The entirety of Mr. Minmier’s remarks can be accessed via IADC’s website.
IADC is dedicated to enhancing the interests of oil-and-gas and geothermal drilling contractors worldwide. IADC’s contract-drilling members own most of the world’s land and offshore drilling units and drill the vast majority of the wells that produce the planet’s oil and gas. IADC’s membership also includes oil-and-gas producers, and manufacturers and suppliers of oilfield equipment and services. Founded in 1940, IADC’s mission is to improve industry health, safety and environmental practices; advance drilling and completion technology; and champion responsible standards, practices, legislation and regulations that provide for safe, efficient and environmentally sound drilling operations worldwide. IADC holds Accredited Observer status at the International Maritime Organization and the International Seabed Authority, specialized agencies of the United Nations. The Association is a leader in developing standards for industry training, notably its Well Control Accreditation Program (WellCAP)âand rig-floor orientation program, RIG PASSâ. IADC is headquartered in Houston and has offices in Washington D.C., the Netherlands, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as chapters in the UK, Venezuela, Brazil, Australasia, South Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and across the United States. For more information, visit the IADC website at www.iadc.org.