Just as the world is watching how the energy industry responds to challenges produced by the Macondo incident, participants in the IADC Well Control Middle East 2010 conference were all ears to the WellCAP Program Outlook presented by IADC Director of Certification and Accreditation Brenda Kelly in Bahrain.
“We want to ensure that our training standard—WellCAP—is appropriately strong,and well suited for our industry for the next generations,” Mrs Kelly said. “We also want to reassure governmental agencies and ourselves of this fact.”
Mrs Kelly noted that IADC was at the center of government and industry initiatives resulting from the 20 April 2010 Macondo accident. “Regulators worldwide are watching the US response,” Mrs Kelly said. “Future regulations and well control operations are sure to be shaped by the response to Macondo.” Mrs Kelly added that representatives of the Norwegian industry have contacted IADC.
According to Mrs Kelly, IADC has proactively led the response by directly meeting with US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) officials and by participating in four joint industry work groups on equipment, operations, spill response, and containment, as well as in BOEMRE public forums and with the API Ocean Industry Safety Institute task force. IADC has also led member groups to respond to the challenge.
She added that the IADC Well Control Committee launched new initiatives even before Macondo, including rewriting Chapter 5 (Training) of the “IADC/OOC Deepwater Well Control Guidelines” and revising WellCAP drilling and workover/completion curricula. Also, the Committee is rewriting the WellCAP Handbook of Accreditation, accelerating implementation of new qualifications for WellCAP instructors, and hastening development of a test-question database.
Post-Macondo, the Well Control Committee is wrestling with questions and formulating answers, solutions or responses to ill-defined regulations and restructuring sub-committees to better address emerging issues. The WellCAP program has undergone several improvements.
Improvements to WellCAP include revising curricula and developing a new approach to combining course curricula. For example, drilling courses will no longer be combined with well servicing courses, such as coiled tubing, snubbing and wireline. In addition, IADC will audit training providers more frequently; and eliminate certificate “grace periods”. Also, the WellCAP Plus supervisory level program for strengthening competencies and well control team skills will be promoted more vigorously. Future changes call for adding more well control scenarios to classroom exercises, developing tools for assessment of well control competencies, strengthening WellCAP operational requirements such as modification of testing procedures and creation of a standard test for random quality checks.
“IADC members, committee leaders, and IADC staff have a strong drive to ensure that WellCAP is a quality program, leading to competent well control personnel,” said Mrs Kelly.