Landmark initiative sets competency benchmarks for 73 rig-based positions, raises the bar for global drilling industry
By Amy Rose, IADC Director of External Relations, and Joanne Liou, Associate Editor
IADC officially kicked off its Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) Competencies Program at IADC World Drilling 2014 in Vienna in June. The goal of the project is to ensure the competency of rig crews, supporting the drilling industry’s path to zero incidents, Jay Minmier, 2014 IADC Chairman and President of Nomac Drilling, said in launching the program. “The critical path to zero accidents is by ensuring the competency of rig crews,” Mr Minmier said. “That is the goal of the IADC KSAs.”
A free resource available to the global drilling industry, the KSAs set competency benchmarks for nearly all rig positions and provide a foundation of information for the industry to demonstrate the qualifications of its personnel. The KSAs were originally developed in 2001 for 12 rig positions. The latest initiative, which allows users to generate a unique set of competencies based on job position, rig type and operational environment, was launched in 2012.
The KSA project is a critical initiative IADC is undertaking to catalyze improved performance for the global drilling industry, IADC President and CEO Stephen Colville said.
The KSA competencies respond to both regulatory and industry demands for globally accepted and recommended standards. “They connect people, help them collaborate and help create,” Mr Colville said. “The purpose of IADC is all around catalyzing improved performance.”
IADC assembled more than 70 subject matter experts from across the industry to develop KSA competencies for 73 rig-based positions. Volunteers were selected to participate in one of eight work groups: Quality, Health, Safety and Environment; Offshore Drilling Operations; Onshore Drilling Operations; Subsea Operations; Marine Operations; Technical Maintenance; Processes and Procedures; and Crane and Rigging Operations. The output of six of the workgroups is currently represented in the database. KSA competencies for Technical Maintenance and Marine Operations are under review and expected to be added in the near future.
“The completion of the first phase of this project, just a year and a half after it was launched, is a testament to the work put in by a dedicated group of industry experts,” said Brooke Polk, IADC Competency and Learning Development Specialist. “We believe the IADC KSA database is a crucial component in ensuring the industry’s license to operate.”
The KSA competencies serve a variety of purposes for industry users. They can be used to build or evaluate in-house competency programs, assess personnel capabilities and qualifications by building assessment guides, build personnel development tools by identifying competency strengths and assist in the development of career advancement pathways.
“There is value to everyone in having a clear, full and consistent definition of the skill sets required for the various job categories that the KSAs cover. By holding a common set of questions centrally within IADC that applies to all parties, whether they are from the contractor or operator side of the business, we have the potential to avoid duplication of effort or variation in interpretation of separate standards/requirements,” said Colin Nelson, Segment Engineering Technical Authority, Marine Engineering for BP and a member of the Marine Operations work group. “If the KSA competencies gain traction and the confidence of users, it will be an excellent tool for candidates to understand the requirements and review what skills they need to develop in order to advance their careers and move into jobs of increasing responsibility.”
“I believe that there will be much discussion on these recommendations,” Joe Moravek, Training Director for Nance Universal HVACR Technical School and a contributor to the Technical Maintenance work group, added. “It will help our industry accept standards or develop standards that are greater than those recommended by our work group. The industry will have a benchmark to review their maintenance standards and may even find maintenance areas that were once unknown. When adopted by our industry, these competencies will propel service and maintenance to the next level, ensuring reduced maintenance problems and a safer work environment.”
Phase 1 of the project is now complete, and Phase 2 is under way. Two new work groups, Well Servicing and Company Man, were initiated to define KSA competencies for each of these areas, with work expected to be complete by the end of 2014/early 2015. Leaders of the KSA initiative are also evaluating the necessity to expand the database to include additional rig positions.
“The KSA competencies can serve as the underpinnings of any robust competency assurance program and will assist with creating such a program for those who don’t already have one in place,” Mark Denkowski, VP for IADC’s Accreditation and Credentialing Division, said. “We will continuously update the database to ensure the competencies keep pace with technology and changes in the industry and invite industry comments on how we can improve. It’s been a lot of hard work by dedicated individuals, and the KSAs will help our industry raise competency and performance levels.”
Click here to access the free IADC KSA Competencies online database.