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KOC: Massive rig start-up project is as much about people, training as it is about rigs

Posted on 01 October 2010

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has embarked on a major campaign to boost oil and gas output that involves the construction of many new land rigs and the recruitment and training of drilling personnel to go with.

Speaking at the 2010 IADC Drilling HSE Europe Conference, 29-30 September in Amsterdam, Iqbal Hussain, senior drilling and workover engineer for KOC, said that this programme is being carried out with full regard to ensuring both the capability of the new rigs and of the recruits, many of whom will start out as raw hands. Comprehensive attention is being paid to ensuring adequate training of such people, he said.

“To achieve this target, we drew up a strategy, now known as the KOC 2020 strategy,” Mr Iqbal said.

“The company has committed to the provision of HSE and develop an environment where every employee considers himself personally responsible for his safety.”

That includes the drilling supply chain, he said.

The ambitious program is not without its challenges, Mr Iqbal added.

“How do we achieve this long-term objective? Right at the beginning we needed to expand our rig fleet. But to operate these rigs we needed to develop a pool of technically very capable manpower, and that would have to be achieved in a very short time.

“But to get there depends on developing and continuing a strong HSE culture.”

Mr Iqbal said the new rigs were planned and selected very carefully. They had to be able to handle big challenges as a matter of routine, including extended-reach horizontal wells, cluster drilling and infill drilling.

From 2009 to 2010, 31 new rigs were added, with a further 58 during the current fiscal year, to be followed by more than 40 a year through 2015, he said.

As for the people, Mr Iqbal said: “Developing a pool of manpower is a very challenging task. We need to transform people into professional drilling engineers in a very short time.”

He cited impressive numbers, ramping up from 194 taken on during fiscal 2009-2010, to 314 more during the current year, then a further 469 for 2011-2012, with many more thereafter.

Turning to training, Mr Iqbal said everyone from graduates to experienced hands to raw recruits had to be trained to at least a baseline of good competency.

He said an “elaborate training program” had been planned and implemented.

He talked of mentoring through seniors to “enhance their competency level in short period,” and use would be made of “elaborate competency assessment charts” for assessment.

Moreover, there would be emphasis on ensuring that everyone will be able “to handle basic operational duties” in six months time in order to meet KOC’s target growth needs.

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