It’s time to go to the gym
As a kid, I watched TV ads featuring the “Godfather of Fitness,” Jack LaLanne. In 1936, Mr. LaLanne opened one of our nation’s first fitness gyms in Oakland, Calif., with the goal of helping people build muscle and become healthy and fit.
Since the last significant crude price collapse in 2008, our industry has made some impressive technological advances, such as multi-stage hydraulic fracturing, walking drilling rigs, and improvements in subsalt imaging. But while enjoying high commodity prices that seemed to last forever, our industry got flabby and complacent. When OPEC decided in November 2014, not to cut production to boost oil prices, U.S. producers, especially those in unconventional plays, reacted to the new environment by reducing the number of wells drilled and idling rigs. The impact propagated quickly through the supply chain. Many companies have reduced skilled staff and will struggle to replace them, once the price recovers.
This slowdown in activity is the perfect time to embrace Jack LaLanne’s mantra: “Go to the gym.” It’s time to build technological muscle with investments in research, to ensure that we remain healthy and fit. And it’s time to cross-train our staff to build their intellectual muscle to take broader roles, just as athletes cross train in the gym to improve their overall performance.
Investments in research and technology occur at every stage of the value chain, including exploration, appraisal, development and production operations. To translate technologies into value requires a workforce that can operate across multiple disciplines. Hess is cross-training staff in lean, continuous improvement processes, and standard work processes, to build strong operating muscle. Hess is investing in advanced technology with universities and private businesses, and then applying these advances with lean processes. This has allowed us to increase production, reduce cycle time, and lower operating costs.
No one knows when supply and demand will be balanced, and commodity prices will stabilize. But investing in technology and staff development will improve efficiency and create value. It also will position the industry to be healthy when the turnaround occurs.
Investments made today, both in people and technology, will ensure that the industry has the operational muscle and technological edge to deal with challenging opportunities. Having the right people, in the right jobs, at the right time, is imperative to achieving success. Developing a workforce that is flexible and cross-trained builds operational efficiency. Through technology investment, and Hess’s lean culture, we have increased production and become more capital-efficient, while still fostering environmental stewardship. Technological advances will enable access to challenging areas, such as deeper-water HPHT exploration targets, and will improve recovery efficiently to unlock liquid-rich unconventional resources. The real muscle, however, will come from the creative minds of our workforce.
- Applying ultra-deep LWD resistivity technology successfully in a SAGD operation (May 2019)
- Adoption of wireless intelligent completions advances (May 2019)
- Majors double down as takeaway crunch eases (April 2019)
- What’s new in well logging and formation evaluation (April 2019)
- Qualification of a 20,000-psi subsea BOP: A collaborative approach (February 2019)
- ConocoPhillips’ Greg Leveille sees rapid trajectory of technical advancement continuing (February 2019)