LAST WORD

Train­ing sim­u­la­tions could help fill the tal­ent gap/

Oil & Gas Middle East - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Train­ing is im­per­a­tive to the up­stream oil and gas sec­tor—drilling op­er­a­tions are com­pli­cated, and un­trained work­ers can cause op­er­a­tion down­time, haz­ardous ac­ci­dents and could ul­ti­mately cost the op­er­a­tor money by slow­ing pro­duc­tion and ef­fi­ciency.

“It can be a dif­fi­cult in­dus­try to learn,” says Gavin Ames, vice pres­i­dent of strat­egy and de­vel­op­ment at 3T En­ergy Group. “With sim­u­la­tions, com­pa­nies can de­fine the way they want their crews to learn and up­skill them­selves.”

Sim­u­la­tors range from un­com­pli­cated, por­ta­ble units to fully im­mer­sive sim­u­la­tors de­signed for a class full of peo­ple. Some train­ing pro­grams in­volve vir­tual re­al­ity, plac­ing trainees in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions and al­low­ing them to in­ter­act with their sur­round­ings with­out risk­ing safety.

“Peo­ple can repli­cate the rig en­vi­ron­ment, the rig floor, run emer­gency sce­nar­ios, and op­er­a­tors can check com­pe­tency and up­skill their work­force in a safe class­room en­vi­ron­ment,” Ames adds. “It means that you can make mis­takes in the vir­tual world that you wouldn’t want to make in the real world.”

He says work­ers have tra­di­tion­ally learned through ex­pe­ri­ence, which “can ob­vi­ously take a long time, and some­times if you learn through ex­pe­ri­ence you may not learn the right way.”

For the en­ergy in­dus­try, which has a wide tal­ent gap, time is an im­por­tant fac­tor. In the Mid­dle East, find­ing quick and ef­fi­cient ways to train lo­cal work­ers is a key con­sid­er­a­tion as Gulf coun­tries look to de­velop their lo­cal en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture and to lo­calise their work­force.

“I think it has been a tough pe­riod in the oil and gas in­dus­try, the oil price has been low, but we’re see­ing re­cov­ery in oil prices and more and more rigs go­ing to work,” he says. “We are also see­ing lo­cal­i­sa­tion ini­tia­tives, where com­pa­nies want to have a lo­cal work­force, lo­cal crews, and sim­u­la­tion train­ing is a very im­por­tant part of that, where you can up­skill a lo­cal work­force and fast track their de­ploy­ment onto the work site.”

In en­ergy pro­duc­tion, there is a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween speed (or ef­fi­ciency) and safety. By run­ning dis­as­ter and gen­eral train­ing sim­u­la­tions, work­ers could be bet­ter pre­pared for the re­al­ity of work­ing on site.

But Ames says sim­u­la­tions are also geared to­wards ex­ist­ing work­ers in the in­dus­try, with the aim of “up­skilling” them and in­creas­ing their com­pe­tency in the field. Por­ta­ble sim­u­la­tors can be kept on site for crews to train them­selves with­out halt­ing their work.

“…COM­PA­NIES WANT TO HAVE A LO­CAL WORK­FORCE, LO­CAL CREWS, AND SIM­U­LA­TION TRAIN­ING IS A VERY IM­POR­TANT PART OF THAT, WHERE YOU CAN UP­SKILL A LO­CAL WORK­FORCE AND FAST TRACK THEIR DE­PLOY­MENT ONTO THE WORK SITE.”

Vir­tual re­al­ity is a prom­i­nent tech­nol­ogy for train­ing

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