The two-day gathering of captains of the Oil and Gas industry at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra, Ghana, was to set the rheostat of progress for the industry that has weathered a prolonged downturn in recent times. The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) Africa 2020 Drilling Conference and Exhibition on February 18 and 19 was attended by representatives from Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Ghana Petroleum Corporation. Drilling experts from countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, United States of America, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Spain, France, South Africa, Senegal and Luxemburg all gathered to x-rayed and proffer solution to issues in the industry.
As part of its 80th anniversary, the IADC had overviewed the increasing complexity around Oil and Gas operations, coupled with volatile oil prices which has caused fluctuation and fast-paced changes in response to matrixes from north African countries like Egypt, Algeria and Libya, and in Sub-Saharan markets, in established oil and gas markets in Nigeria, Angola and Ghana and emerging ones in Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and Tanzania.
The conference explored all aspects of drilling operations including ultra-Deepwater, sub-salt, emerging markets, HPHT, re-entry drilling for gas redevelopment and other germane issues. The conference reckoned that in addition to multiple opportunities and challenges peculiar to Africa, parts of the continent will face challenges the face of declining oil and gas revenues.
Hisham Zebiam, IADC Vice President, Eastern Hemisphere, noting the importance of oil and gas to economic and population growth, forecast significant growth in global oil and gas consumption in the coming decades, particularly in the developing world. His submission is backed with figures: the U.S. Oil and Gas Extraction (Mining) industry will need to hire 45,000 additional workers (and replace workers that leave the industry) to sustain industry growth through 2028; India’s oil and gas sector will likely require 25,000 additional professionals (an equivalent of 48% of current employee strength) in the next five years due to business growth and retirement or attrition in the sector; the upstream sector is expected to see the maximum shortfall, with a requirement for 7,600 employees in the next five years due to high attrition and retirement.
Chuks Enwereji, Chairman, IADC Nigeria Chapter opined that the capacity and capability to “meet these challenges and still embrace fresh opportunities from onshore to ultra-Deepwater” are fundamental and deserve immediate attention.
His Nigerian testimonial sparkled with optimism.
As at last count, rigs in Nigeria has attained an encouraging level of 38, and the year 2019 recorded a “significant increase in work opportunities for drilling contractors and service companies.” Likewise, membership of the association has grown from 27 in 2018 to 38 active members in 2019, representing a 41 per cent increase.
As a step towards an all-inclusive growth strategy, IADC has consistently kept a tab on the operational modes of members by creating collaborative opportunities amongst members including distribution of rig count information. The association reiterated its resolution to continue to engage regulatory agencies in reviewing and solving industry issues where they exist.
Soliciting government’s friendly policies and cautioned against over-regulation, Enwereji urged IADC members to be more adept in the pursuit of innovative strategies in rig operations to stay in business. Urging the investing international community to show more interest in Nigeria, he avowed that a lot of oil and gas opportunities exist in the country.
The association’s principle of building sustainable human resource future for the industry was evident with the participation of Petroleum Engineering students of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). In this regard, Nicholas Kofi, Lead EHS Advisor, Tullow Oil, echoed his company’s catch-them-young policy, propagated through scholarship offers to students as well as a mentorship programme.
The conference was concluded after a commitment by members to focus on emerging opportunities in Africa, and taking lessons from advanced countries on how to support local content development as part of measures to mitigate distinct challenges of complex-expensive new developments and low-value depleted fields.