The decade of the 1980s saw dramatic changes in the Drilling industry worldwide; fret record high utilization rates for mobile rigs to total depression and bankruptcies; from a strong market in the Gulf of Mexico to the steady flow of rigs to operating locations outside North America.

What has been the effect of the last decade on the "people" side of the business? To what extent has the technical ability of the drilling contractor been limited in the early 1990s resulting from the permanent departure of the seasoned technicians of the 80s? Where will the experienced people come from as worldwide rig utilization steadily grows and stabilizes? What role will the labor forces of lesser developed countries play in the future of manpower planning and development? What risk of safety and environment will bear as an industry in this manpower rebuilding mode?

A major drilling contractor operating on land and offshore, long known as an industry leader in training, has tripled its employee development efforts in the last five years to prepare for this challenge. This paper describes the Contractor's current program of training and highlights the commitment in resources required in order to provide for the operational continuity, manpower capability and safety objectives of the future. The paper will clarify the relationship it anticipates between the coming manpower shortage, development of personnel and the safety of its people and personnel and the safety of its people and environment. It will discuss plans already in place to effectively develop drilling expertise place to effectively develop drilling expertise in lesser developed countries of operation. Further, it will provide case study results of a proven method of accelerated training which proven method of accelerated training which ensures the development of senior rig personnel expeditiously without sacrificing safety. Finally, the paper will summarize a worldwide effort to develop an even higher calibre of personnel to ensure total quality rig personnel to ensure total quality rig performance. performance


Early all market analysis these days points to the fact that the 1990s will provide stability and growth for the drilling industry. One can argue as to the extent of that growth, bet early indications of rig utilization during 1990 and 1991 have been encouraging. AS a result, most drilling contractors have shifted their strategy from survival to maximizing their return on investment with existing assets in order to reinvest in new equipment and technology to fleet new demand.

The average age of the world offshore drilling fleet is approaching 12 years and tough regulations are growing in many markets. Therefore, the investment required to merely maintain activity at current levels, without consideration for further growth, will be substantial. For example, to commit to the construction of a new semisubmersible for the North Sea regrets an ultimate investment between $150 and $200 million. Imagine the investment required to renew the entire fleet of offshore rigs.

Even if we assume that increasing drilling revenues will provide the source for funding these investments, this will not be enough. It would be naive for contractors to believe that oil company operators will willingly accept the burden of the total cost of this renewal.

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