IADC pushes forward on KSA project, calls for more industry participation

Posted on 18 March 2013


Bob Newhouse, member of the KSA steering committee and vice president – learning & development for Noble Drilling, speaks with Drilling Contractor associate editor Katherine Scott about the project.

By Katherine Scott, associate editor

The Drilling Onshore workgroup for IADC’s KSA project met on 25 February to discuss competencies for 73 land rig positions. Clockwise from top left are: Joe Ed Bunton, Lone Star College; Linda Horr, Sidewinder Drilling; Malcolm Singh, Petrofac; Linda Head, Lone Star College; and Brooke Comeaux, IADC.

The Drilling Onshore workgroup for IADC’s KSA project met on 25 February to discuss competencies for 73 land rig positions. Clockwise from top left are: Joe Ed Bunton, Lone Star College; Linda Horr, Sidewinder Drilling; Malcolm Singh, Petrofac; Linda Head, Lone Star College; and Brooke Comeaux, IADC.

The IADC Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) project is well under way and headed toward completion later this year, with worldwide mapping of competence-based models already completed, Dr Brenda Kelly, IADC senior director of program development, said at the 2013 IADC HSE & Training Conference in Houston on 6 February. The work continues to focus on rig-based positions, Dr Kelly said, “but ultimately there is that vision on expanding to other third-party personnel who will be coming to the rig. That’s on the horizon.”

The goal of the project is to add to IADC’s original KSA templates created in 2000 and provide a foundation upon which the industry can demonstrate personnel qualifications. Currently, IADC is conducting member surveys on in-house competency programs and requesting voluntary sharing of their personnel competency information to contribute to a database pool, Dr Kelly explained. The project was announced in June 2012, and once completed, the new guidelines will be open access.


IADC continues to gather input from its members for the KSA project, which will provide a foundation to demonstrate personnel qualifications, IADC senior director of program development Dr Brenda Kelly said at the 2013 IADC HSE&T Conference & Exhibition in Houston on 6 February.

By defining key competencies, the KSAs can also form the building blocks of future IADC accreditation and certification programs. IADC is renowned as an accreditor for drilling-industry training programs conducted by oil companies, drilling contractors, oil-field service firms and independent training institutions.

“The revamped KSAs will provide the industry with a benchmark for globally consistent drilling position requirements, as well as recommend means for effectively evaluating personnel,” remarked Stephen Colville, IADC president and CEO.

Nine review teams have been put in place to oversee quality, health, safety and environment; processes and procedures; drilling operations onshore; drilling operations offshore; marine operations; technical maintenance; facility management; subsea operations and regulatory. “All of these review teams are actively at work going through the input, the KSAs that have been contributed through us,” Dr Kelly said, adding that the facility management and regulatory teams particularly need additional members to pitch in and help. Review teams are expected to complete their work in the next two months.

Additionally, a steering team, made up of drilling contractor operations-level personnel, will act as the deciding body during the approval process for the finalized KSAs, Dr Kelly said. “This is a back-and-forth process as we work through the inputs, the review teams examining and seeking more input if needed.”

Eventually, a database will be developed to house and provide a means of generating the KSAs. Dr Kelly noted that database platform selection has just begun, and competencies will be organized by group function, units of competency, elements of competency and then a checking of each position for which of those competencies are either core or alternates. “You have options coming into the system, designating position, designating the rig type, the environment where the rig will be working, the geography that influences the regulatory input, and other rig-type topics, like equipment. You’re generating a unique set of KSAs for each type of position within your organization.”

Based on the KSA template, IADC will also provide guidance for implementing a competency program. “That would include suggestions for assessment methodologies, as well as recommendations as to accepted ranges of performance on each of the competencies,” Dr Kelly said.

There is still time to contribute to this industry milestone project. “We want this whole development process to be very transparent as it evolves and give everyone a chance to comment. We want to get to the end game with everybody on the same page,” Mark Denkowski, IADC vice president – accreditation & credentialing.

Please contact accreditation@iadc.org for more details.

Click here to view IADC’s competency webinar.

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