Empowered crews enhance well control competency

Posted on 22 May 2012

By Katherine Scott, editorial coordinator

Steve Vorenkamp, Wild Well Control, speaks at the 2012 IADC Drilling Onshore Conference on 17 May in Houston about the importance of conducting well control competency assessments at the wellsite. One way to improve such competency is to empower the crews, he said.

To learn from the past and improve well control competency at the wellsite, the industry needs to reemphasize the basics to its crews, said Steve Vorenkamp, general manager of training for Wild Well Control, in a presentation at the 2012 IADC Drilling Onshore Conference and Exhibition on 17 May in Houston. The land drilling industry is doing a lot of good and getting 95% of it right, but it’s the remaining 5% that demands more attention. We have to focus on “those things that got away from us,” he said.

Mr Vorenkamp said he believes that 85% of blowouts happen when we forget the basics – procedural problems caused by a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of well control. This means only 15% of losses are due to equipment problems. “I can fix equipment. I can redesign equipment. That’s the easy thing to do,” he said. “But how do we get past forgetting protocols or taking risks that we shouldn’t have?”

In order not to repeat past mistakes, change must be instigated by educating and empowering the next generation of employees, he continued. “We’ve got to transfer that knowledge,” Mr Vorenkamp said. The “stop action” belief must be transferred all the way down to the crews “so that they actually believe they can stop action when they know that they should. …  We’ve got to do a better job of empowering the people, and it’s difficult when we’re building a rig a week to satisfy demand.”

Giving crews a supportive environment could also work to minimize gaps in well control awareness. “Crews have got to believe that they are being supported so that their feedback and their honesty come through. From that you’re able to determine as a group what needs to come next to fill that void.”

Incorporating skills in well control awareness where they operate in a practical sense is certainly something that land drillers should consider, Mr Vorenkamp continued. “How do we get out there and do a quantitative/qualitative assessment of how these crews operate, from a competency standpoint, where they work? Not in a perfect classroom, with a perfect simulator and everything’s fun, but when it’s tight and uncomfortable,” he said. If we can provide that type of real-world, practical, job-specific practice for the crews, “I think we will get that 5% minimized. I really do.”

Further, well control has to be continuously reviewed on site. “Crews have got to be focused, because when they’re on that job, it’s not just how fast they’re drilling, it’s the entire aspect of what can occur at any given moment,” he said.

To motivate companies to take well control competency a step above, Mr Vorenkamp emphasized that there is a cost benefit to preventing the loss of a rig in a blowout. “What does a rig cost today – $15 million? $20 million? Half a billion? How many events can you afford and say that, I don’t have the money for training?”

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 27 March 2015

    Gravity-deployed carbon composite cable completes first commercial deployment offshore Norway

    Ziebel, a Stavanger-based provider of specialist well intervention services for the oil and gas industry, announced that its Z-Line gravity-deployed...

  • 27 March 2015

    Petronas’ INSTEP training institute plans improvements for integrated, experiential learning

    Institut Teknologi PETRONAS (INSTEP) takes realism seriously when it comes to experiential learning – seriously enough to be planning...

  • 26 March 2015

    Wood Mackenzie: Falling costs to soften blow of slashed exploration budgets

    Exploration budget cuts in 2015 will average 30%, but that will be matched by an approximately equal fall in exploration costs...

  • 25 March 2015

    C&J Energy Services merges with Nabors’ completion/production services

    C&J Energy Services, (C&J) and Nabors Industries (Nabors) announced the completion of the combination of C&J with Nabors’ completion...

  • 25 March 2015

    Douglas-Westwood: Oilfield services expenditure to decline by 30% in 2015

    Global oilfield services (OFS) markets are facing difficult headwinds as a function of commodity prices...

  • Read more news