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An internal analysis of the UK's newest drilling training facility

The global energy sector is booming,” says Emma Horworth, manager of the new AIS Survivex Center in Newcastle, UK. The company, a provider of training and skills, is part of 3T Energy Group, and the work has left Haworth feeling optimistic, saying, “All our centers are very busy.”

Given that in the first year of the pandemic, direct and indirect jobs supported by the oil and gas sector were estimated to have fallen by about 34,000 less than before, this increase in activity is reassuring. There is none.

Conversely, today, Howorth said industry headcount is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by more than 10% next year alone.

In response, AIS Survivex decided to invest in a new dedicated training facility. This, he says, is the only UK center outside Aberdeen to regularly offer IWCF-approved drilling and well management training.

The 5-day course is intended for facility operators and their supervisors who respond to proper management or related incidents. This certificate is mandatory for drilling and related personnel working in the oil and gas industry and must be renewed every 2nd time. Year.

Attract talent with technology

A key feature of this course is the use of iDrillSIM, the latest cloud-based drilling simulation technology developed by Drilling Systems, another 3T Energy Group company. This technology allows students to practice as if they were actually digging a well, using realistic modeling for so-called “live learning”.

The simulation reflects all elements of a drilling operation, from well control to drilling, lifting, and crane control, and is designed to reproduce various types of rigs, including drillships, semi-submersibles, jack-ups, and land-based rigs. can be configured to

“The simulator training experience is very immersive because the graphics are so realistic. It looks and feels like you’re on the drilling floor,” says Howorth. “But because it’s virtual, trainees can face situations they wouldn’t encounter in the real world, which helps train them to reach their full potential.”

The software can be accessed online from anywhere in the world and allows multiple candidates to participate in a virtual classroom experience at once. Instructors can submit scenarios and review responses remotely. Howorth says this is the main difference between traditional classrooms that use physics simulators and his iDrillSIM technology.

“Previously, students had to wait in line to use the simulator, but iDrillSIM is accessible online for the entire class. [a maximum eight people]to ensure hands-on simulator training,” she explains.

The Well Control course also has a mobile app that provides access to a variety of quizzes before and after the course to improve retention of knowledge and identify weaknesses for more targeted training.

“Our clients and the industry itself are very open to efficiencies. ,” says Howorth.

“In addition, we have found that technology can help attract new people to the industry, create better engagement, and enable more compliance and talent, especially with the ongoing skills shortage.”

Focus on innovation

AIS Survivex, whose clients include BP, TotalEnergies and Shell, use technology in all areas of training, including lifeboat simulators and virtual reality (VR).

In 2021, the company worked with BP to deliver a bespoke four-week course for approximately 100 operations personnel at the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim development project off the coast of Mauritania and Senegal.

The training program included creating a digital twin of a floating production system used in a project with AIS Survivex’s sister company 3T Transform. The course demonstrates his VR headset using a variety of technologies, including digital twin augmented reality, which teaches technicians about the layout of the vessel and safety-critical operating systems and procedures before they even set foot on the vessel. delivered via.

AIS Survivex considers incorporating virtual training into most of its courses, but not all currently embrace digitization.

“Innovation has been at the heart of our strategy since the beginning of the business, as we realized it could play a big role in improving the training experience,” she explains. “We take a consultative approach to industry challenges, listening to what our clients want and building technology-driven solutions around that.”

But the heart of the business is face-to-face training, especially in courses where safety is key.

To the future

AIS Survivex primarily caters to the oil and gas sector, but can provide competence training for wind, marine, construction and other industries.

A particular focus is offshore wind, which is expected to add around 70,000 jobs in the UK by 2030. says Haworth.

This means that a competent person in one area, such as oil and gas, can perform what she calls “gap analysis” training across an end-to-end course. is not necesary to.

“But the courses are now under different approval bodies in different sectors, so this is a very early stage,” she said, noting just a general one, but a specific one for the renewable energy industry. He added that there is a growing demand for technical training for safety education.

During the pandemic, the center was allowed to remain operational for some time as a safety critical element in oil and gas training. In other words, personnel training was not as delayed as in some other departments.

Nevertheless, many AIS Survivex centers in the UK are already seeing pre-pandemic levels of demand for training as the industry increases in response to the global energy crisis, Howorth said.

“We have seen a significant increase in the first course. These are people who have never worked in the field before, or who have had their qualifications expired during the pandemic and are looking to requalify. is,” she says. “It shows how the industry is going. People expect jobs at the end of it.”

The new center, which opened in June, will accommodate this increased demand while also significantly reducing travel time as many of our delegates are based in the Northeast. The company already has two centers in the UK and more global partnerships, but the £15m ($17.7m) company has plans to add more in the “not too distant future”. increase.

“For the foreseeable future, we will continue to deploy technology across our business to drive the digitization of our training course portfolio,” says Howorth. “And we are looking to diversify into new markets and even more training centers within the UK and possibly beyond.”

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