Drilling : The Golden Gate of Oil Industry Development

The Drilling industry is probably considered as the most important principle of oil and gas discovery and production. Without planning for the development of this key industry, the realization of oil and gas production goals will not be possible. Today, the significance of drilling in the oil industry has placed this industry as one of the ranking indices for countries in international professional energy organizations. Among the oil-rich countries, Iran is a country with a long history of oil and gas extraction. A short glance to Iran’s drilling industry over the past 36 years reveals that this industry has successfully paved the way for growth, development and prosperity in that drilling is one of the prosperous Iranian industries. However, there is a long way to achieving growth, excellence, and competition with international competitors.

At the present, there are 17 drilling companies in charge of 135 drilling rigs in Iran. Among these companies. National Iranian Oil Company, as the greatest drilling company in Iran has 75 off-shore and on-shore rigs. Each of the remaining drilling companies are responsible for 3-4 rigs. Among the mentioned companies, only 6 companies have off-shore drilling rigs and the rest deal with on-shore rigs. The importance of Iran drilling services expansion is due to the fact that there are approximately fifteen independent and drilling services companies associated with drilling. This can express the greatness of this industry in terms of technology and workforce. The development rate of oil and gas industries are dependent on drilling more than what is expected. Compared to the budget of developing companies, drilling costs have allocated 45% of the on-shore and 65% of the off-shore to themselves. However, the costs related to drilling services are nearly one- third of drilling operation costs.

Compared to the budget of developing companies, drilling expenses have allocated 45% of on-shore and 65% of the off-shore to themselves.


In its initial period, oil and gas industry performed a large section of its required services related to the drilling operation, well repair and maintenance with the help of its oil companies in the form of trust work. After this period, most of the employer companies removed drilling services section from their organizational structure and assigned these services to contractor companies. At that time, the majority of contractor companies had a tendency for development and provision of more various services; finally, they became capable of providing different services by joining others companies.   The important of drilling services issue in the growth of drilling industry with regard to proper implementation and the appropriate pace has led to considering drilling services issue as an essential element and executive arm of this industry. Fortunately, numerous service companies offering drilling services have been established over the past decade and private sector has been actively participating in this field. With the transition from sanctions, the mentioned companies have been capable of the localization of services which used to be dependent on foreign companies, and Iranian competent experts have created fundamental change and development in this regard in order to enhance our country’s drilling productivity. However, there is a distance to international standards and common technologies, and we should identify our present problems with the help of our experiences and consider our challenges so that we can employ and localize up-to-date technologies in order to compensate.

According to the received reports, nearly 4550 on-shore and off-shore wells have been drilled in the past 36 years.  At the present, the general policies of oil ministry are based on the development of shared oil and gas fields, protective extraction and production, and the prevention of burning associated gases. Besides, our oil industry requires protection and preservation of the current and newly drilled wells in order to keep its maximum production in oil importing countries organization. It is obvious that we must pass the golden gate of drilling so as to achieve these objectives.

According to the received reports, nearly 4550 offshore and onshore wells have been drilled in Iran in the past 36 years.

Considering the main role of drilling costs in developing companies’ budget, we must identify the present challenges in this field in the first step and following that, we must propose principle solutions related to them in order to reduce the costs of field development and increase operation productivity. At the moment, the most significant challenge of drilling operation is related to human resources. Given the rich technical knowledge pertaining to drilling and its academic studies, the training level does not have   a remarkable quality due to the lack of practical and professional drilling training center and not having the possibility of operational training in some companies. Furthermore, suitable training facilities are mainly concentrated in one of the active companies in drilling field.  Lack of specialized workforce and incompatibility between the organization and expected operation are among other issues which have obliged some of the active drilling companies to supply their manpower via consultants. From training or experience aspect, this action does not meet the requirement, and consultants have had a poor performance considering engineering and technical knowledge. However, the salary difference among domestic companies and difficult working conditions leads to the fact that the specialized workforce leaves drilling industry after a short time.

Since recruitment, training and maintenance of workforce is of great importance, revision in recruitment and employment methods according to approved organizational structure, development of technical and engineering center for drilling consisting suitable facilities and educational atmosphere, and use of incentive patterns in all drilling aspects are necessary for increasing drilling operation productivity.

Another crucial challenge in drilling area is associated with drilling contractors. No clear regulations and integrated classifications have led to several inconsistencies, and lack of clarity in drilling contracts has created problems for drilling companies. Modifications in drilling contracts and reaching a uniform procedure with regard to drilling execution type through notified approved guidelines can be helpful in this regard.

These days, challenges related to human resources from one side , and challenges related to the problems of drilling equipment supply, dealing with contract problems, impossibility of using valid companies product and services from the others side have led to decrease in our drilling productivity compared to other active drilling companies in the Middle East. However, a better productivity is expected from one hundred-year experience in hydrocarbon fields production and drilling.

One way to access up-to-date information and knowledge is organizing seminars similar to Iran Drilling Services Conference. We hope that we can go one step further in enhancing and increasing drilling operation productivity through the improvement of drilling services provision by our country’s professionals, with the aim of convergence of employer contractor objectives and benefits beside strong management and organizational structure.




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