By Joanne Liou, editorial coordinator
In an ever-changing and progressing business, training for new technologies never ceases. Transocean’s four global training facilities, including one based in Houston, are designed to ensure crews meet training requirements using interactive simulators in a variety of courses, from well control to crane operations to cyber-chair drilling. Several key training and assessment programs have IADC and OPITO certification.
“Drilling practices change. We’re now routinely drilling technically demanding wells with challenging geologies, for example, subsalt plays. We are also using different techniques such as managed pressure and dual-gradient drilling,” James Penny, manager of special projects – performance and operations, said.
More than 2,500 students annually attend training at the Houston facility, with five to seven courses simultaneously running to serve crew members worldwide. Using interactive tools, such as advanced drilling and crane simulators, Activeboards and iPads, the training facility is focused on bringing crew members up to date on certifications and licenses and furthering individual careers. “It’s constant,” Mr Penny said. “You never stop training.” In addition to Houston, Transocean has global training facilities in Kuala Lumpur, Aberdeen and Macaé, Brazil. The Kuala Lumpur and Macaé centers have expanded with new facilities in recent months, and similar plans are in the works for the Aberdeen center.
In a new effort, Transocean is developing customer-specific training tailored to well plans. “The customer says, ‘We have this type of specific well we’re going to drill, and we want you to re-create the well and scenario – give us potential problems and solutions,’” Chris “Spanky” McGehee, training instructor/onshore driller assessor, said at the Houston training center. “It takes about a week or so to build a snapshot on the simulator, putting in the information where they are actually going to drill the well on the simulator before they go out to the rig to drill the well.”
The Vision Strategy Center, an initiative designed to cultivate collaboration and strategic planning, will soon debut in the Houston facility. The center, which is outfitted with the latest SMART Board technologies, teleconference capabilities and access to real-time rig data and video footage, connects the offshore rig to the center and anyone who has secure access to the company’s network via iPad, mobile phone or computer.
Input from internal IT, graphics, operations, engineering and technical field support groups helped develop the center, along with feedback from rig crews and customers. Transocean’s ultra-deepwater drillship Discoverer Clear Leader is being used to launch the center, Mr Penny said. The Discoverer Clear Leader is operating in the US Gulf of Mexico under a five-year contract with Chevron.