By Jeremy Roemershauser | VP of Sales
I had a very interesting conversation with a potential customer last week and thought it worth putting something on paper around that topic. The discussion was around well control, obviously, and the customer was lamenting about the lack of training for professionals in the drilling space. The comment was made that we need to separate ‘certification from education’. Thank you M.B. for that line. Mercury could not agree more; so much so, we created a company around that.
Mercury Well Control was founded on some basic principles. In short, we want to provide the best solution for our customers in a more cost effective way. When Mercury leaves a job we make sure that we left something behind – knowledge. Showing up in a customer’s office to produce a work product to receive a payment-sure, that is one way to do it. However, we believe in working for the customer, but more importantly, with the customer.
Understand their needs and wants, cater to that, then nurture them along in our process and explain the reasoning behind those processes. Many companies in this space are not adaptable and do things their way, call it old school…we don’t believe in that here. You must have the customer involved so that there is some knowledge transfer between our engineers and theirs. If we leave a customer with more knowledge and understanding of the well control process than they had before we showed up, we have DONE our job. We understand the ‘great crew-change’. It is real and truly exists in well control. That is why our Senior Engineering team consists of over 200+ years of experience. We are passionate about passing along that experience and knowledge and see more of a need for what we do and how we do it. We want more to follow suit.
Ultimately, this all leads to prevention of well control incidents – another cornerstone of our creation. We are a preventative company-while we do not have the tools and equipment needed to fight fires, we offer well control engineering services to avoid incidents. We are not sitting around collecting our monthly payments for Emergency Response contracts in anticipation of a spill or blowout. We are trying to avoid these incidents from happening, but are taking that to the next level through education and knowledge transfer. In doing a job, we don’t just turn over a finished product to the customer. As mentioned before, there needs to be an understanding as to why we arrived at the results we have, and what lessons are learned from that exercise is paramount for Mercury to doing a job, and doing it well. We have a very diverse, multi-disciplined talent pool. This means we have seen most situations from a well control standpoint and have the right person for the right job. Our staff has had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing well control measures first-hand – they have fought fires and it is not pretty. This makes us advocates for prevention and taking the time and necessary steps to plan out your well accordingly to avoid a mishap. Truly understanding a well design plan all the way to TD is key, and it seems there are not too many people out there that can do so, or willing to, for that matter.
As our meeting last week progressed, the word disgust was mentioned around the table many times. We have also been hearing that customers are not getting called back or they hear ‘not interested’. Low margin work of prevention is not sexy and seems to be getting turned away. This is a scary proposition and makes me think we are always on the brink of having another major incident due to lack of involvement by some very talented well control specialists. No, I am not trying to throw panic to the industry, but there needs to be a change in how people are trained and how people interact with well control specialists in the workplace. There is too much reliance on the Well Control Engineer and we need to shift responsibility with better trained professionals in and around the operator and drilling space. Now I can say I was in a room with some very smart people, all of which were engineers, and they all feel the same way about where we are as an industry in this respect. Hence why we are working to make a difference and foster The Next Generation of Well Control.