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Simulators, computer-based training seen as key tools for future well control training

Posted on 15 December 2010

Approximately 40 people attended the Well Control Roundtable and Workshop, sponsored by the IADC Well Control Committee, on 1 December 2010 following the IADC Well Control Middle East Conference & Exhibition in Manama, Bahrain.

The program was organized around two panels, one on “The Future of Well Control Training” and the other on “How Simulators Can Enhance Well Control Training.”

During the first panel, operator and drilling contractor representatives presented their views of current well control training and ideas on how to ensure competent well control personnel.

Flexibility of the WellCAP program was identified as a training strength by Arabian Drilling’s Harin Hattangady, who added that this feature can potentially be misused. Another concern is the limited emphasis on preventing well control events, particularly in training for assistant drillers and drillers. He believes that simulators and interactive computer-based training (CBT) are important tools for future well control training.

Following lively discussions, participants declared it time to rethink the current approach to well control training. Many suggestions or recommendations were offered, not only for enhancing well control training but also for developing and assessing employee’s well control competencies.

Recommendations for training enhancements included strengthening current training standards and audit processes; adding more well event prevention training; utilizing more team activities; reviewing and modifying curriculums as needed to ensure delivery of fit-for-purpose training; increasing the amount of simulator time in supervisory-level courses; and developing techniques for introducing the “adrenaline factor” into training.

Ensuring competence of well control personnel was an overarching theme of the discussions. Questions from how to determine an employee’s response in a real well control event to understanding the differences between certification, qualifications and competence were discussed.

Utilization of simulators, CBT and e-Learning for pre-well control course refreshers and pre-assessments, along with readily available continuing education materials at the worksite, were identified as tools for developing and helping employees to retain well control knowledge and skills.

Third-party assessments, course pre-assessments and use of simulators to assess not only well control knowledge and skills but also an employee’s ability to make decisions were also discussed as an important component of competence assurance. It was recommended that employees identified as weaker performers be required to undergo annual well control training.

In the second panel, participants discussed ways to enhance well control training through the use of simulators. Among the key suggestions were to use simulators more in training and assessing employee knowledge, skills and abilities; to develop more stringent simulator exercises and assessments; and to improve training administrative and recordkeeping processes through a simulator’s recording of student performance, checks on student identity and providing an audit trail for both instructor and student activities on the simulator.

“The roundtable discussions confirmed our well control community’s concern for employees’ well control competencies and their eagerness to address these concerns head-on,” said Brenda Kelly, IADC director of accreditation and certification.

In the workshop for WellCAP instructors that followed, instructors were given information about requirements for maintaining WellCAP instructor approval. WellCAP instructors who attended the roundtable received continuing education credits to apply toward maintaining their WellCAP instructor approval.

Simulator manufacturers also held workshops with their user clientele to demonstrate new or enhanced simulator capabilities and to answer questions about the simulators.

For more information about the activities of IADC’s Well Control Committee, contact Brenda Kelly.

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